Medical College of Wisconsin
CTSICores SearchResearch InformaticsREDCap

Conservatism and the neural circuitry of threat: economic conservatism predicts greater amygdala-BNST connectivity during periods of threat vs safety. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 2018 01 01;13(1):43-51

Date

11/11/2017

Pubmed ID

29126127

Pubmed Central ID

PMC5793824

DOI

10.1093/scan/nsx133

Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85040619655   12 Citations

Abstract

Political conservatism is associated with an increased negativity bias, including increased attention and reactivity toward negative and threatening stimuli. Although the human amygdala has been implicated in the response to threatening stimuli, no studies to date have investigated whether conservatism is associated with altered amygdala function toward threat. Furthermore, although an influential theory posits that connectivity between the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) is important in initiating the response to sustained or uncertain threat, whether individual differences in conservatism modulate this connectivity is unknown. To test whether conservatism is associated with increased reactivity in neural threat circuitry, we measured participants' self-reported social and economic conservatism and asked them to complete high-resolution fMRI scans while under threat of an unpredictable shock and while safe. We found that economic conservatism predicted greater connectivity between the BNST and a cluster of voxels in the left amygdala during threat vs safety. These results suggest that increased amygdala-BNST connectivity during threat may be a key neural correlate of the enhanced negativity bias found in conservatism.

Author List

Pedersen WS, Muftuler LT, Larson CL

Author

Lutfi Tugan Muftuler PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin




MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Amygdala
Animals
Anxiety
Arousal
Dominance, Cerebral
Economics
Fear
Female
Humans
Individuality
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Male
Nerve Net
Politics
Safety
Septal Nuclei
Statistics as Topic
Uncertainty
Young Adult