Attend or Defend? Sex Differences in Behavioral, Autonomic, and Respiratory Response Patterns to Emotion-Eliciting Films.
Biol Psychol. 2017 Oct 17;:
Authors: Wilhelm FH, Rattel JA, Wegerer M, Liedlgruber M, Schweighofer S, Kreibig SD, Kolodyazhniy V, Blechert J
Sex differences in emotional reactivity have been studied primarily for negative but less so for positive stimuli; likewise, sex differences in the psychophysiological response-patterning during such stimuli are poorly understood. Thus, the present study examined sex differences in response to negative/positive and high/low arousing films (classified as threat-, loss-, achievement-, and recreation-related, vs. neutral films), while measuring 18 muscular, autonomic, and respiratory parameters. Sex differences emerged for all films, but were most prominent for threat-related films: Despite equivalent valence and arousal ratings, women displayed more facial-muscular and respiratory responding than men and pronounced sympathetic activation (preejection period, other cardiovascular and electrodermal measures), while men showed coactivated sympathetic/parasympathetic responding (including increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia). This indicates a prototypical threat-related defense response in women, while men showed a pattern of sustained orienting, which can be understood as a shift toward less threat proximity in the defense cascade model.
PMID: 29054817 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Networks of phobic fear: Functional connectivity shifts in two subtypes of specific phobia.
Neurosci Lett. 2017 Oct 17;:
Authors: Stefanescu MR, Endres RJ, Hilbert K, Wittchen HU, Lueken U
Anxiety disorders can be conceptualized by an abnormal interplay of emotion-processing brain circuits; however, knowledge of brain connectivity measures in specific phobia is still limited. To explore functional interactions within selected fear-circuitry structures (anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), amygdala, insula), we re-examined three task-based fMRI studies using a symptom provocation approach (n=94 subjects in total) on two different phobia subtypes (animal subtype as represented by snake phobia (SP) and blood-injection-injury subtype as represented by dental phobia (DP)), and a non-phobic healthy control group (HC). Functional connectivity (FC) analyses detected a negative coupling between the amygdala and the ACC in HC for both classes of phobic stimuli, while SP and DP lacked this inhibitory relationship during visual stimulus presentation. However, a negative FC between the insula and the amygdala was observed in DP during visual symptom provocation, which reversed to a positive FC under auditory symptom provocation pointing to effects depending on stimulus modality in DP. SP showed significantly higher FC towards snake-anxiety eliciting stimuli than HC on an average measure of FC, while DP showed a similar pattern under auditory stimulation only. These findings altogether indicate FC shifts during symptom provocation in specific phobia possibly reflecting impaired emotion regulation processes within fear-circuitry networks. FC hence could represent a prime target for neuroscience-informed augmentation strategies when treating pathological forms of fear.
PMID: 29054435 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]