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The impact of induced anxiety on affective response inhibition

Aylward, J; Valton, V; Goer, F; Mkrtchian, A; Lally, N; Peters, S; Limbachya, T; (2017) The impact of induced anxiety on affective response inhibition. Royal Society Open Science , 4 (6) , Article 170084. 10.1098/rsos.170084. Green open access

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Abstract

Studying the effects of experimentally induced anxiety in healthy volunteers may increase our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning anxiety disorders. Experimentally induced stress (via threat of unpredictable shock) improves accuracy at withholding a response on the sustained attention to response task (SART), and in separate studies improves accuracy to classify fearful faces, creating an affective bias. Integrating these findings, participants at two public science engagement events (n = 46, n = 55) were recruited to explore the effects of experimentally induced stress on an affective version of the SART. We hypothesized that we would see an improved accuracy at withholding a response to affectively congruent stimuli (i.e. increased accuracy at withholding a response to fearful 'no-go' distractors) under threat of shock. Induced anxiety slowed reaction time, and at the second event quicker responses were made to fearful stimuli. However, we did not observe improved inhibition overall during induced anxiety, and there was no evidence to suggest an interaction between induced anxiety and stimulus valence on response accuracy. Indeed Bayesian analysis provided decisive evidence against this hypothesis. We suggest that the presence of emotional stimuli might make the safe condition more anxiogenic, reducing the differential between conditions and knocking out any threat-potentiated improvement.

Type: Article
Title: The impact of induced anxiety on affective response inhibition
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170084
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.170084
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: affective response inhibition, mood and anxiety disorders, stress, threat of shock
UCL classification: 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/1562104
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