Distinct Associations Between Low Positive Affect, Panic, and Neural Responses to Reward and Threat During Late Stages of Affective Picture Processing

Published on Jan 1, 2018in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
· DOI :10.1016/j.bpsc.2017.09.013
Anna Weinberg27
Estimated H-index: 27
(McGill University),
Aislinn Sandre2
Estimated H-index: 2
(McGill University)
Abstract Background Abnormal patterns of attention to threat and reward have been proposed as potential mechanisms of dysfunction in anxiety and mood disorders. However, research on this topic has been inconsistent, perhaps because of both clinical heterogeneity in the samples assessed and measurement of attentional biases that is temporally imprecise. Methods The present study measured transdiagnostic symptoms of anxiety and depression in 205 young adults and recorded affect-modulated event-related potentials in response to task-irrelevant pictures in a speeded response task. Results Low positive affect was uniquely associated with reduced modulation of later event-related potentials (i.e., the P300 and the late positive potential) by rewarding images, suggesting deficits in sustained attention to reward. Low positive affect was also associated with a blunted threat-elicited late positive potential. Symptoms of panic were associated with an increased N1 to rewarding images, as well as an increased late positive potential to all picture types. Conclusions These data suggest that dysfunction in neural markers of sustained attention to threat and reward relate in specific ways to transdiagnostic symptom dimensions of anxiety and depression. Moreover, event-related potentials are likely to be useful in investigations of the time course of attentional abnormalities associated with these symptom dimensions.
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