Habituation of Rostral Anterior Cingulate Cortex to Repeated Emotionally Salient Pictures

Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
Neuropsychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 7.05). 08/2003; 28(7):1344-50. DOI: 10.1038/sj.npp.1300186
Source: PubMed


Habituation of the neural response to repeated stimuli has been well demonstrated for subcortical limbic regions responding to emotionally salient stimuli. Although the rostral or affective division of the anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) is also engaged during emotional processing, little is known about the temporal dynamics of this region in sustained evaluation of emotional salience. Using a test/retest design, the present study assessed habituation in the human brain with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Eight healthy subjects were exposed to two repeated runs of aversive, neutral, and blank images. Activation of the rACC to negatively valenced pictures occurred only in the first session, and this activation was significantly greater in the first relative to the second session. Additionally, medial prefrontal cortex, hippocampal, and amygdalar activations were noted during the first, but not second, presentation of aversive pictures. These findings highlight the phasic activity of the rACC in emotional processing consistent with habituation.

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    • "The anatomical ROIs were created using the WFU Pick Atlas toolbox (version 3.0) (Maldjian et al. 2003) (left amygdala: x = −24, y = −2, z = −18; right amygdala: x = 27, y = −1, z = −19). As it has previously been demonstrated that amygdala activity decreases upon repeated presentation of negative stimuli (Breiter et al. 1996; Fischer et al. 2000, 2003; Wright et al. 2001; Phan et al. 2003; Ishai et al. 2004; Britton et al. 2008), we tested for habituation effects . To do this, we divided the trials within each run into early (1–3) and late (4–7) trials and performed another ROI analysis within the amygdala. "
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    • " subcortical loci involved in memory encoding and attentional orient - ing toward negative stimuli such as the amygdala ( Breiter et al . , 1996 ; Fischer et al . , 2000 , 2003 ; Wright et al . , 2001 ; Phan et al . , 2003 ; Ishai et al . , 2004 ; Britton et al . , 2008 ) and hippocampus ( Fischer et al . , 2000 , 2003 ; Feinstein et al . , 2002 ; Phan et al . , 2003 ) . Further , consistent with Wright et al . ( 2001 ) , we observed habituation in right , but not left , amygdala and parahippocampal gyrus ."
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    • "Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala were also examined for association with both anxiety types. Evidence suggests that ACC is involved in diverting attentional resources toward negatively valenced stimuli (Devinsky et al. 1995), and activation in this region habituates to repeated presentations of emotional stimuli (Phan et al. 2003). Amygdala has been strongly implicated in responding to negatively valenced stimuli (Phelps 2009) and habituates to repeated presentations of such stimuli (Breiter et al. 1996). "
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