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Connectivity from the ventral anterior cingulate to the amygdala is modulated by appetitive motivation in response to facial signals of aggression.

Passamonti L, Rowe JB, Ewbank M, Hampshire A, Keane J, Calder AJ - Neuroimage (2008)

Bottom Line: Identifying the key neurobiological factors that underlie this variation is fundamental to our understanding of aggressive behaviour.Two distinct techniques showed that the connectivity between the ventral ACC and the amygdala was strongly correlated with personality, with high reward-drive participants displaying reduced negative connectivity.Furthermore, the direction of this effect was restricted from ventral ACC to the amygdala but not vice versa.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 7EF, UK.

ABSTRACT
For some people facial expressions of aggression are intimidating, for others they are perceived as provocative, evoking an aggressive response. Identifying the key neurobiological factors that underlie this variation is fundamental to our understanding of aggressive behaviour. The amygdala and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been implicated in aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we studied how the interaction between these regions is influenced by the drive to obtain reward (reward-drive or appetitive motivation), a personality trait consistently associated with aggression. Two distinct techniques showed that the connectivity between the ventral ACC and the amygdala was strongly correlated with personality, with high reward-drive participants displaying reduced negative connectivity. Furthermore, the direction of this effect was restricted from ventral ACC to the amygdala but not vice versa. The personality-mediated variation in the pathway from the ventral anterior cingulate cortex to the amygdala provides an account of why signals of aggression are interpreted as provocative by some individuals more than others.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

(A) Example faces during the gender discrimination task. Either an angry or neutral face was presented on each trial. (B) Source region for the PsychoPhysiological Interaction (PPI) in the General Linear Model (GLM). The left amygdala was defined as a 10 mm sphere using two different approaches (see PPI GLM Experimental Procedures for details). The slice shown is at y = − 4 mm in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). R: right side. (C) PPI GLM Statistical Parametrical Map (SPM). This SPM {t} map for the higher order PPI demonstrates that the ventral Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is connected with the amygdala (source region) as a function of the angry context and of the reward–drive (appetitive motivation) personality. Color bar represents t statistics (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). FWE: Family Wise Error, small volume correction (svc) (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). The slice shown is at x = − 10 in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). The whole-brain map is thresholded at p < .001, uncorrected. (D) Data plot for the PPI showed in the panel C. There is a highly statistically significant correlation (r = .77, p < .001) between the PPI (i.e. the amygdala-ventral ACC connectivity as function of the angry context) and the individual differences in reward–drive score with participants scoring lower presenting the more negative connectivity as opposed to individuals scoring higher displaying the less negative values. The regression line (black) and the 95% confidence intervals (red lines) are shown. BAS–drive: Behavioral Approach System–drive subscale (reward–drive or appetitive motivation).
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fig1: (A) Example faces during the gender discrimination task. Either an angry or neutral face was presented on each trial. (B) Source region for the PsychoPhysiological Interaction (PPI) in the General Linear Model (GLM). The left amygdala was defined as a 10 mm sphere using two different approaches (see PPI GLM Experimental Procedures for details). The slice shown is at y = − 4 mm in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). R: right side. (C) PPI GLM Statistical Parametrical Map (SPM). This SPM {t} map for the higher order PPI demonstrates that the ventral Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is connected with the amygdala (source region) as a function of the angry context and of the reward–drive (appetitive motivation) personality. Color bar represents t statistics (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). FWE: Family Wise Error, small volume correction (svc) (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). The slice shown is at x = − 10 in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). The whole-brain map is thresholded at p < .001, uncorrected. (D) Data plot for the PPI showed in the panel C. There is a highly statistically significant correlation (r = .77, p < .001) between the PPI (i.e. the amygdala-ventral ACC connectivity as function of the angry context) and the individual differences in reward–drive score with participants scoring lower presenting the more negative connectivity as opposed to individuals scoring higher displaying the less negative values. The regression line (black) and the 95% confidence intervals (red lines) are shown. BAS–drive: Behavioral Approach System–drive subscale (reward–drive or appetitive motivation).

Mentions: After pre-training, participants underwent functional MRI scanning. They performed a gender discrimination task while viewing grey-scale photographs of angry or neutral faces (Fig. 1A). These were presented by an angled mirror above the participants’ eyes, which reflected images back-projected onto a translucent screen in the bore of the magnet behind the participant's head. The facial expression stimuli were selected from the NimStim Face Stimulus Set (www.macbrain.org) and Karolinksa directed emotional faces (KDEF) on the basis of independent emotional ratings. There were 30 different identities (half female) for each expression. Stimuli were presented in alternating 21-s epochs each containing six stimuli from the one category (angry or neutral) intermixed with six events. Eighteen epochs of each category were presented.


Connectivity from the ventral anterior cingulate to the amygdala is modulated by appetitive motivation in response to facial signals of aggression.

Passamonti L, Rowe JB, Ewbank M, Hampshire A, Keane J, Calder AJ - Neuroimage (2008)

(A) Example faces during the gender discrimination task. Either an angry or neutral face was presented on each trial. (B) Source region for the PsychoPhysiological Interaction (PPI) in the General Linear Model (GLM). The left amygdala was defined as a 10 mm sphere using two different approaches (see PPI GLM Experimental Procedures for details). The slice shown is at y = − 4 mm in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). R: right side. (C) PPI GLM Statistical Parametrical Map (SPM). This SPM {t} map for the higher order PPI demonstrates that the ventral Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is connected with the amygdala (source region) as a function of the angry context and of the reward–drive (appetitive motivation) personality. Color bar represents t statistics (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). FWE: Family Wise Error, small volume correction (svc) (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). The slice shown is at x = − 10 in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). The whole-brain map is thresholded at p < .001, uncorrected. (D) Data plot for the PPI showed in the panel C. There is a highly statistically significant correlation (r = .77, p < .001) between the PPI (i.e. the amygdala-ventral ACC connectivity as function of the angry context) and the individual differences in reward–drive score with participants scoring lower presenting the more negative connectivity as opposed to individuals scoring higher displaying the less negative values. The regression line (black) and the 95% confidence intervals (red lines) are shown. BAS–drive: Behavioral Approach System–drive subscale (reward–drive or appetitive motivation).
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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fig1: (A) Example faces during the gender discrimination task. Either an angry or neutral face was presented on each trial. (B) Source region for the PsychoPhysiological Interaction (PPI) in the General Linear Model (GLM). The left amygdala was defined as a 10 mm sphere using two different approaches (see PPI GLM Experimental Procedures for details). The slice shown is at y = − 4 mm in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). R: right side. (C) PPI GLM Statistical Parametrical Map (SPM). This SPM {t} map for the higher order PPI demonstrates that the ventral Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) is connected with the amygdala (source region) as a function of the angry context and of the reward–drive (appetitive motivation) personality. Color bar represents t statistics (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). FWE: Family Wise Error, small volume correction (svc) (see the PPI GLM Results section for details). The slice shown is at x = − 10 in MNI space (Montreal Neurological Institute). The whole-brain map is thresholded at p < .001, uncorrected. (D) Data plot for the PPI showed in the panel C. There is a highly statistically significant correlation (r = .77, p < .001) between the PPI (i.e. the amygdala-ventral ACC connectivity as function of the angry context) and the individual differences in reward–drive score with participants scoring lower presenting the more negative connectivity as opposed to individuals scoring higher displaying the less negative values. The regression line (black) and the 95% confidence intervals (red lines) are shown. BAS–drive: Behavioral Approach System–drive subscale (reward–drive or appetitive motivation).
Mentions: After pre-training, participants underwent functional MRI scanning. They performed a gender discrimination task while viewing grey-scale photographs of angry or neutral faces (Fig. 1A). These were presented by an angled mirror above the participants’ eyes, which reflected images back-projected onto a translucent screen in the bore of the magnet behind the participant's head. The facial expression stimuli were selected from the NimStim Face Stimulus Set (www.macbrain.org) and Karolinksa directed emotional faces (KDEF) on the basis of independent emotional ratings. There were 30 different identities (half female) for each expression. Stimuli were presented in alternating 21-s epochs each containing six stimuli from the one category (angry or neutral) intermixed with six events. Eighteen epochs of each category were presented.

Bottom Line: Identifying the key neurobiological factors that underlie this variation is fundamental to our understanding of aggressive behaviour.Two distinct techniques showed that the connectivity between the ventral ACC and the amygdala was strongly correlated with personality, with high reward-drive participants displaying reduced negative connectivity.Furthermore, the direction of this effect was restricted from ventral ACC to the amygdala but not vice versa.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, 15 Chaucer Road, Cambridge, CB2 7EF, UK.

ABSTRACT
For some people facial expressions of aggression are intimidating, for others they are perceived as provocative, evoking an aggressive response. Identifying the key neurobiological factors that underlie this variation is fundamental to our understanding of aggressive behaviour. The amygdala and the ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) have been implicated in aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we studied how the interaction between these regions is influenced by the drive to obtain reward (reward-drive or appetitive motivation), a personality trait consistently associated with aggression. Two distinct techniques showed that the connectivity between the ventral ACC and the amygdala was strongly correlated with personality, with high reward-drive participants displaying reduced negative connectivity. Furthermore, the direction of this effect was restricted from ventral ACC to the amygdala but not vice versa. The personality-mediated variation in the pathway from the ventral anterior cingulate cortex to the amygdala provides an account of why signals of aggression are interpreted as provocative by some individuals more than others.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus