Amygdala and Ventrolateral Prefrontal Cortex Function During Anticipated Peer Evaluation in Pediatric Social Anxiety

Mood and Anxiety Program, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, 15K North Dr, Room 208, Bethesda, MD 20892-2670, USA.
Archives of general psychiatry (Impact Factor: 14.48). 12/2008; 65(11):1303-12. DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.65.11.1303
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Amygdala and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC) dysfunction manifests in adolescents with anxiety disorders when they view negatively valenced stimuli in threatening contexts. Such fear-circuitry dysfunction may also manifest when anticipated social evaluation leads socially anxious adolescents to misperceive peers as threatening.
To determine whether photographs of negatively evaluated smiling peers viewed during anticipated social evaluation engage the amygdala and vlPFC differentially in adolescents with and without social anxiety.
Case-control study.
Government clinical research institute.
Fourteen adolescents with anxiety disorders associated with marked concerns of social evaluation and 14 adolescents without a psychiatric diagnosis matched on sex, age, intelligence quotient, and socioeconomic status.
Blood oxygenation level-dependent signal measured with event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Before and during neuroimaging scans, participants anticipating social evaluation completed peer- and self-appraisals. Event-related analyses were tailored to participants' ratings of specific peers.
Participants classified 40 pictures of same-age peers as ones with whom they did or did not want to engage in a social interaction. Anxious adolescents showed greater amygdala activation than healthy adolescents when anticipating evaluation from peers previously rated as undesired for an interaction. Psychophysiological interaction connectivity analyses also revealed a significant positive association between amygdala and vlPFC activation in anxious vs healthy adolescents in response to these stimuli.
Anticipating social evaluation from negatively perceived peers modulates amygdala and vlPFC engagement differentially in anxious and healthy adolescents. Amygdala and vlPFC dysfunction manifests in adolescent anxiety disorders in specific contexts of anticipated peer evaluation.

Download full-text


Available from: Eric E Nelson, Sep 28, 2015
40 Reads
  • Source
    • "In adulthood, increased amygdala activity is associated with major depressive disorder (Drevets, 2001; Sheline et al., 2001), and generalized social phobia (Evans et al., 2008; Phan et al., 2006). In adolescence, the amygdala was found to yield stronger responses to fearful faces than adults (Thomas et al., 2001), and greater amygdala reactivity may account for adolescent vulnerability to mood disorders (Guyer, Lau, et al., 2008; Monk et al., 2008; Roberson-Nay et al., 2006). In consideration of the amygdala's role in the endocannabinoid system and affective processing, adolescent vulnerability to mood disorders and propensity for cannabis use, it is important to assess functional differences in this region in cannabis-using teenagers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cannabis use in adolescence may be characterized by differences in the neural basis of affective processing. In this study, we used an fMRI affective face processing task to compare a large group (n = 70) of 14-year olds with a history of cannabis use to a group (n = 70) of never-using controls matched on numerous characteristics including IQ, SES, alcohol and cigarette use. The task contained short movies displaying angry and neutral faces. Results indicated cannabis users had greater reactivity in the bilateral amygdalae to angry faces than neutral faces, an effect that was not observed in their abstinent peers. In contrast, activity levels in the cannabis users in cortical areas including the right temporal-parietal junction and bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex did not discriminate between the two face conditions, but did differ in controls. Results did not change after excluding subjects with any psychiatric symptomology. Given the high density of cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala, our findings suggest cannabis use in early adolescence is associated with hypersensitivity to signals of threat. Hypersensitivity to negative affect in adolescence may place the subject at-risk for mood disorders in adulthood.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 09/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.08.007 · 3.83 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "In addition, we hypothesized that the dorsal aspect of the anterior insula (dAI), which is implicated in the processing of arousal, would be active whenever the participant's performance deviated from his/her expectations; thus especially during perceived failures or achievements (Critchley, 2005; Seeley et al., 2007). There is accumulating evidence demonstrating amygdala involvement in various negative and positive emotions (Adolphs et al., 1995; Morris et al., 1998; Phan et al., 2002), and the amygdala is particularly active in a socially evaluative context (Guyer et al., 2008; Lorberbaum et al., 2004). Additionally, meta-analyses of neuroimaging data consistently show that ventral aspects of the anterior insula (vAI), which are densely connected to the amygdala (Mesulam and Mufson, 1982), are central in human affect (Chang et al., 2013; Deen et al., 2011; Kelly et al., 2012). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: While being in the center of attention and exposed to other's evaluations humans are prone to experience embarrassment. To characterize the neural underpinnings of such aversive moments, we induced genuine experiences of embarrassment during person-group interactions in a functional neuroimaging study. Using a mock-up scenario with three confederates, we examined how the presence of an audience affected physiological and neural responses and the reported emotional experiences of failures and achievements. The results indicated that publicity induced activations in mentalizing areas and failures led to activations in arousal processing systems. Mentalizing activity as well as attention towards the audience were increased in socially anxious participants. The converging integration of information from mentalizing areas and arousal processing systems within the ventral anterior insula and amygdala form the neural pathways of embarrassment. Targeting these neural markers of embarrassment in the (para-)limbic system provides new perspectives for developing treatment strategies for social anxiety disorders. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; 119. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.036 · 6.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "The present study uses a paradigm known to elicit biased responding in socially anxious adolescents (Guyer et al., 2008a) as a preliminary investigation of the relationship between age and social anxiety and the neural correlates of PE in a social context. Relative to traditional PE paradigms, this novel approach may be better suited for capturing between-group differences in PE, but less well suited for examining general aspects of PE learning. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social anxiety disorder typically begins in adolescence, a sensitive period for brain development, when increased complexity and salience of peer relationships requires novel forms of social learning. Disordered social learning in adolescence may explain how brain dysfunction promotes social anxiety. Socially anxious adolescents (n=15) and adults (n=19) and non-anxious adolescents (n=24) and adults (n=32) predicted, then received, social feedback from high and low-value peers while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A surprise recall task assessed memory biases for feedback. Neural correlates of social evaluation prediction errors (PEs) were assessed by comparing engagement to expected and unexpected positive and negative feedback. For socially anxious adolescents, but not adults or healthy participants of either age group, PEs elicited heightened striatal activity and negative fronto-striatal functional connectivity. This occurred selectively to unexpected positive feedback from high-value peers and corresponded with impaired memory for social feedback. While impaired memory also occurred in socially-anxious adults, this impairment was unrelated to brain-based PE activity. Thus, social anxiety in adolescence may relate to altered neural correlates of PEs that contribute to impaired learning about social feedback. Small samples necessitate replication. Nevertheless, results suggest that the relationship between learning and fronto-striatal function may attenuate as development progresses. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 03/2015; 9. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.03.002 · 3.83 Impact Factor
Show more