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Anxiety promotes memory for mood-congruent faces but does not alter loss aversion

Charpentier, CJ; Hindocha, C; Roiser, JP; Robinson, OJ; (2016) Anxiety promotes memory for mood-congruent faces but does not alter loss aversion. Scientific Reports , 6 , Article 24746. 10.1038/srep24746. Green open access

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Abstract

Pathological anxiety is associated with disrupted cognitive processing, including working memory and decision-making. In healthy individuals, experimentally-induced state anxiety or high trait anxiety often results in the deployment of adaptive harm-avoidant behaviours. However, how these processes affect cognition is largely unknown. To investigate this question, we implemented a translational within-subjects anxiety induction, threat of shock, in healthy participants reporting a wide range of trait anxiety scores. Participants completed a gambling task, embedded within an emotional working memory task, with some blocks under unpredictable threat and others safe from shock. Relative to the safe condition, threat of shock improved recall of threat-congruent (fearful) face location, especially in highly trait anxious participants. This suggests that threat boosts working memory for mood-congruent stimuli in vulnerable individuals, mirroring memory biases in clinical anxiety. By contrast, Bayesian analysis indicated that gambling decisions were better explained by models that did not include threat or treat anxiety, suggesting that: (i) higher-level executive functions are robust to these anxiety manipulations; and (ii) decreased risk-taking may be specific to pathological anxiety. These findings provide insight into the complex interactions between trait anxiety, acute state anxiety and cognition, and may help understand the cognitive mechanisms underlying adaptive anxiety.

Type: Article
Title: Anxiety promotes memory for mood-congruent faces but does not alter loss aversion
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/srep24746
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/srep24746
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
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 > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
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/1486652
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