Nothing to fear? Neural systems supporting avoidance behavior in healthy youths

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Article discussing neural systems supporting avoidance behavior in healthy youths. The author's investigation examined brain activation patterns to threatening cues that prompted avoidance in healthy youths.

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24 p.

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Schlund, Michael W.; Siegle, Greg J.; Ladouceur, Cecile D.; Silk, Jennifer S.; Cataldo, Michael F.; Forbes, Erika E. et al. August 15, 2010.

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This article is part of the collection entitled: UNT Scholarly Works and was provided by UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 155 times , with 5 in the last month . More information about this article can be viewed below.

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Article discussing neural systems supporting avoidance behavior in healthy youths. The author's investigation examined brain activation patterns to threatening cues that prompted avoidance in healthy youths.

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24 p.

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This is the accepted manuscript version of the article. Reprinted with permission from Elsevier Science Ltd., all rights reserved. The final definitive version is available here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053811910006567

Abstract: Active avoidance involving controlling and modifying threatening situations characterizations many forms of clinical pathology, particularly childhood anxiety. Presently our understanding of the neural systems supporting human avoidance is largely based on nonhuman research. Establishing the generality of nonhuman findings to healthy children is a needed first step towards advancing developmental affective neuroscience research on avoidance in childhood anxiety. Accordingly, this investigation examined brain activation patterns to threatening cues that prompted avoidance in healthy youths. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, fifteen youths (ages 9-13) completed a task that alternatively required approach or avoidance behaviors. On each trial either a threatening 'Snake' cue or a 'Reward' cue advanced towards a bank containing earned points. Directional buttons enabled subjects to move cues away from (Avoidance) or towards the bank (Approach). Avoidance cues elicited activation in regions hypothesized to support avoidance in nonhumans (amygdala, insula, striatum and thalamus). Results also highlighted that avoidance response rates were positively correlated with amygdala activation and negatively correlated with insula and anterior cingulate activation. Moreover, increased amygdala activity was associated with decreased insula and anterior cingulate activity. Our results suggest nonhuman neurophysiological research findings on avoidance may generate to neural systems associated with avoidance in childhood. Perhaps most importantly, the amygdala/insula activation observed suggests threat related responses can be maintained even when aversive events are consistently avoided, which may account for the persistence of avoidance-coping in childhood anxiety. The present approach may offer developmental affective neuroscience a conceptual and methodological framework for investigating avoidance in childhood anxiety.

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  • Neuroimage, 2010, New York: Elsevier Science Ltd., pp. 710-719

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  • Publication Title: Neuroimage
  • Volume: 52
  • Issue: 2
  • Page Start: 710
  • Page End: 719
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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UNT Scholarly Works

Materials from the UNT community's research, creative, and scholarly activities and UNT's Open Access Repository. Access to some items in this collection may be restricted.

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  • August 15, 2010

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • March 9, 2012, 2:17 p.m.

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  • April 1, 2015, 3:56 p.m.

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Schlund, Michael W.; Siegle, Greg J.; Ladouceur, Cecile D.; Silk, Jennifer S.; Cataldo, Michael F.; Forbes, Erika E. et al. Nothing to fear? Neural systems supporting avoidance behavior in healthy youths, article, August 15, 2010; [New York, New York]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc77177/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.