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The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on the neural substrates of memory encoding and retrieval

Garibbo, M; Aylward, J; Robinson, OJ; (2019) The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on the neural substrates of memory encoding and retrieval. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10.1093/scan/nsz080. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Dysfunctional memory processes are widely reported in anxiety disorders but the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms are unclear. Recent work shows the impact of anxiety on memory depends on the context and memory modality. For instance, threat of shock, a translational within-subject anxiety induction, has been shown to impair the encoding of facial stimuli, while improving spatial working memory (WM) accuracy. The present study aimed to delineate the neural circuitry regulating these opposing behavioral effects. Thirty-three healthy volunteers performed the previously assessed facial recognition and a spatial WM tasks inside an fMRI scanner, under alternating within-subject conditions of threat or safe from shock across encoding and retrieval. Facial recognition impairments were replicated when threat was selectively induced at encoding. Neuroimaging results suggest that this effect was driven by increased competition for attentional resources within the anterior cingulate cortex, in which activation correlated positively with stress levels. The impact of threat on spatial WM performance did not, however, replicate in the fMRI environment. Nevertheless, state-dependent hippocampal activation was observed in both tasks. These findings suggest a neurocognitive mechanism by which anxiety impairs facial recognition as well as a state-dependent hippocampal activation pattern which may putatively underline retrieval of negative experiences in anxiety.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of threat of shock-induced anxiety on the neural substrates of memory encoding and retrieval
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsz080
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsz080
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: ACC, Anxiety, fMRI, memory, threat of shock
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085678
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