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Anxiety-mediated facilitation of behavioral inhibition: threat processing and defensive reactivity during a go/nogo task

Grillon, C; Robinson, OJ; Krimsky, M; O'Connell, K; Alvarez, G; Ernst, M; (2016) Anxiety-mediated facilitation of behavioral inhibition: threat processing and defensive reactivity during a go/nogo task. Emotion , 17 (2) pp. 259-266. 10.1037/emo0000214. Green open access

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Abstract

Anxiety can be broken down into multiple facets including behavioral components, such as defensive reactivity, and cognitive components, such as distracting anxious thoughts. In a previous study, we showed that anticipation of unpredictable shocks facilitated response inhibition to infrequent nogo trials during a go/nogo task. The present study extends this work to examine the distinct contribution of defensive reactivity, measures with fear-potentiated startle, and anxious thought, assessed with thought probes, on go and nogo performance. Consistent with our prior findings, shock anticipation facilitated response inhibition (i.e., reduced errors of commission) on the nogo trials. Regression analyses showed that 1) nogo accuracy was positively associated with fear-potentiated startle and negatively associated with threat-related/task-unrelated thoughts and 2) go accuracy correlated negatively with fear-potentiated startle. Thus, while the present findings confirm the influence of anxiety on response inhibition, they also show that such influence reflects the balance between the positive effect of defensive reactivity and the negative effect of distracting anxious thoughts.

Type: Article
Title: Anxiety-mediated facilitation of behavioral inhibition: threat processing and defensive reactivity during a go/nogo task
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/emo0000214
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/emo0000214
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 American Psychological Association This article may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Keywords: Anxiety, go/nogo task, response inhibition, fear-potentiated startle, distraction
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/1502387
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