The neural basis of approach-avoidance conflict: A model based analysis

Samuel Zorowitz, Alexander P. Rockhill, Kristen K. Ellard, Katherine E. Link, Todd Herrington, Diego A. Pizzagalli, Alik S. Widge, Thilo Deckersbach, Darin D. Dougherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Approach-avoidance conflict arises when the drives to pursue reward and avoid harm are incompatible. Previous neuroimaging studies of approach-avoidance conflict have shown large variability in reported neuroanatomical correlates. These prior studies have generally neglected to account for potential sources of variability, such as individual differences in choice preferences and modeling of hemodynamic response during conflict. In the present study, we controlled for these limitations using a hierarchical Bayesian model (HBM). This enabled us to measure participant-specific per-trial estimates of conflict during an approach-avoidance task. We also employed a variable epoch method to identify brain structures specifically sensitive to conflict. In a sample of 28 human participants, we found that only a limited set of brain structures [inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC), and right pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA)] are specifically correlated with approach-avoidance conflict. These findings suggest that controlling for previous sources of variability increases the specificity of the neuroanatomical correlates of approach-avoidance conflict.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberENEURO.0115-19.2019
JournaleNeuro
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by the United States Army Research Office and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-14-2-0045. Cluster computing resources were made possible by NIH Instrumentation Grants 1S10RR023401, 1S10RR019307, and 1S10RR023043, and facilities were funded by the NIBIB Grant P41 EB015896. D.A.P. was partially supported by NIH Grants R37 MH068376 and R01 MH101521. K.K.E. was partially supported by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke Training Program in Recovery and Restoration of CNS Health and Function Grant T32 NS100663-01.

Funding Information:
Over the past three years, D.A.P. has received consulting fees or honoraria from Akili Interactive Labs, Alkermes, BlackThorn Therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim, Compass, and Takeda, for activities unrelated to the current paper. No funding from these entities was used to support the current work. All other authors declare no competing financial interests.

Funding Information:
This work was sponsored by the United States Army Research Office and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under Cooperative Agreement

Keywords

  • Approach-avoidance
  • Cognitive
  • Decision making
  • FMRI
  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology

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