Dispositional fear, negative affectivity, and neuroimaging response to visually suppressed emotional faces

Nathalie Vizueta, Christopher J. Patrick, Yi Jiang, Kathleen M. Thomas, Sheng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

"Invisible" stimulus paradigms provide a method for investigating basic affective processing in clinical and non-clinical populations. Neuroimaging studies utilizing continuous flash suppression (CFS) have shown increased amygdala response to invisible fearful versus neutral faces. The current study used CFS in conjunction with functional MRI to test for differences in brain reactivity to visible and invisible emotional faces in relation to two distinct trait dimensions relevant to psychopathology: negative affectivity (NA) and fearfulness. Subjects consisted of college students (N = 31) assessed for fear/fearlessness along with dispositional NA. The main brain regions of interest included the fusiform face area (FFA), superior temporal sulcus (STS), and amygdala. Higher NA, but not trait fear, was associated with enhanced response to fearful versus neutral faces in STS and right amygdala (but not FFA), within the invisible condition specifically. The finding that NA rather than fearfulness predicted degree of amygdala reactivity to suppressed faces implicates the input subdivision of the amygdala in the observed effects. Given the central role of NA in anxiety and mood disorders, the current data also support use of the CFS methodology for investigating the neurobiology of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)761-771
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroImage
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2012

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Binocular rivalry
  • Continuous flash suppression
  • Functional MRI
  • Individual differences
  • Invisible faces

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