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Reward vs. Retaliation — the Role of the Mesocorticolimbic Salience Network in Human Reactive Aggression

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The propensity for reactive aggression (RA) which occurs in response to provocation has been linked to hyperresponsivity of the mesocorticolimbic reward network in healthy adults. Here, we aim to elucidate the role of the mesocorticolimbic network in clinically significant RA for two competing motivated behaviors, reward-seeking vs. retaliation. 18 male participants performed a variant of the Point-Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (PSAP) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We examined whether RA participants compared with non-aggressive controls would choose to obtain a monetary reward over the opportunity to retaliate against a fictitious opponent, who provoked the participant by randomly stealing money from his earnings. Across all fMRI-PSAP runs, RA individuals vs. controls chose to work harder to earn money but not to retaliate. When engaging in such reward-seeking behavior vs. retaliation in a single fMRI-PSAP run, RA individuals exhibited increased activation in the insular-striatal part of the mesocorticolimbic salience network, and decreased precuneus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation compared to controls. Enhanced overall reward-seeking behavior along with an up-regulation of the mesocorticolimbic salience network and a down-regulation of the default-mode network in RA individuals indicate that RA individuals are willing to work more for monetary reward than for retaliation when presented with a choice. Our findings may suggest that the use of positive reinforcement might represent an efficacious intervention approach for the potential reduction of retaliatory behavior in clinically significant RA.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Retaliatory and monetary reward-seeking responses displayed for reactive aggressive participants (RA) and controls for the single fMRI run for which brain responses have been analyzed (left), and mean responses across the four fMRI PSAP runs (right; responses were collapsed across runs as there was no effect of run and run x group interaction on behavioral responses). There were no significant differences between groups for the single fMRI run. Averaged across the four fMRI runs, RA individuals worked significantly more than controls to earn money, but not to retaliate. Abbreviations: fMRI, functional-magnetic resonance imaging; n.s., not significant; PSAP, Point-subtraction aggression paradigm. *p < 0.05.
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Figure 2: Retaliatory and monetary reward-seeking responses displayed for reactive aggressive participants (RA) and controls for the single fMRI run for which brain responses have been analyzed (left), and mean responses across the four fMRI PSAP runs (right; responses were collapsed across runs as there was no effect of run and run x group interaction on behavioral responses). There were no significant differences between groups for the single fMRI run. Averaged across the four fMRI runs, RA individuals worked significantly more than controls to earn money, but not to retaliate. Abbreviations: fMRI, functional-magnetic resonance imaging; n.s., not significant; PSAP, Point-subtraction aggression paradigm. *p < 0.05.

Mentions: In the single fMRI run, there were no group differences in number of monetary and retaliatory responses (Figure 2 left), earnings, and provocations (independent t-tests, ps> 0.30). Across all 4 runs, the 4 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that RA participants pressed significantly more buttons for the monetary reward than controls [main effect of group, F(1, 15) = 7.62, p = 0.015, partial η2 = 0.34], but the number of retaliatory button presses did not differ between groups [F(1, 15) = 0.15, p = 0.701, partial η2 = 0.01; Figure 2 right]. There was no significant effect of run on either the number of monetary [F(3, 45) = 1.35, p = 0.27, partial η2 = 0.08] or retaliatory responses [F(3, 45) = 1.38, p = 0.261, partial η2 = 0.08], and no significant run × group interaction [reward: F(3, 45) = 2.61, p = 0.063, partial η2 = 0.15; retaliation: F(3, 45) = 2.35, p = 0.085, partial η2 = 0.14]. While RA individuals did not earn overall more money than controls [F(1, 15) = 1.01, p = 0.33, partial η2 = 0.06; no effect of run], a significant run × group interaction indicated a rise in earnings over the four runs in RA participants, and a decrease in controls [F(3, 45) = 3.28, p = 0.03, partial η2 = 0.18]. However, post-hoc independent t-tests did not reveal any significant difference between groups for earnings in any one of the runs (ps > 0.05). Additionally, RA individuals experienced significantly more provocations across runs [F(1, 15) = 7.53, p = 0.015, partial η2 = 0.33; no effect of run or run × group interaction], possibly because RA individuals chose more often the monetary option (provocations occurred in monetary trials only).


Reward vs. Retaliation — the Role of the Mesocorticolimbic Salience Network in Human Reactive Aggression
Retaliatory and monetary reward-seeking responses displayed for reactive aggressive participants (RA) and controls for the single fMRI run for which brain responses have been analyzed (left), and mean responses across the four fMRI PSAP runs (right; responses were collapsed across runs as there was no effect of run and run x group interaction on behavioral responses). There were no significant differences between groups for the single fMRI run. Averaged across the four fMRI runs, RA individuals worked significantly more than controls to earn money, but not to retaliate. Abbreviations: fMRI, functional-magnetic resonance imaging; n.s., not significant; PSAP, Point-subtraction aggression paradigm. *p < 0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037197&req=5

Figure 2: Retaliatory and monetary reward-seeking responses displayed for reactive aggressive participants (RA) and controls for the single fMRI run for which brain responses have been analyzed (left), and mean responses across the four fMRI PSAP runs (right; responses were collapsed across runs as there was no effect of run and run x group interaction on behavioral responses). There were no significant differences between groups for the single fMRI run. Averaged across the four fMRI runs, RA individuals worked significantly more than controls to earn money, but not to retaliate. Abbreviations: fMRI, functional-magnetic resonance imaging; n.s., not significant; PSAP, Point-subtraction aggression paradigm. *p < 0.05.
Mentions: In the single fMRI run, there were no group differences in number of monetary and retaliatory responses (Figure 2 left), earnings, and provocations (independent t-tests, ps> 0.30). Across all 4 runs, the 4 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed that RA participants pressed significantly more buttons for the monetary reward than controls [main effect of group, F(1, 15) = 7.62, p = 0.015, partial η2 = 0.34], but the number of retaliatory button presses did not differ between groups [F(1, 15) = 0.15, p = 0.701, partial η2 = 0.01; Figure 2 right]. There was no significant effect of run on either the number of monetary [F(3, 45) = 1.35, p = 0.27, partial η2 = 0.08] or retaliatory responses [F(3, 45) = 1.38, p = 0.261, partial η2 = 0.08], and no significant run × group interaction [reward: F(3, 45) = 2.61, p = 0.063, partial η2 = 0.15; retaliation: F(3, 45) = 2.35, p = 0.085, partial η2 = 0.14]. While RA individuals did not earn overall more money than controls [F(1, 15) = 1.01, p = 0.33, partial η2 = 0.06; no effect of run], a significant run × group interaction indicated a rise in earnings over the four runs in RA participants, and a decrease in controls [F(3, 45) = 3.28, p = 0.03, partial η2 = 0.18]. However, post-hoc independent t-tests did not reveal any significant difference between groups for earnings in any one of the runs (ps > 0.05). Additionally, RA individuals experienced significantly more provocations across runs [F(1, 15) = 7.53, p = 0.015, partial η2 = 0.33; no effect of run or run × group interaction], possibly because RA individuals chose more often the monetary option (provocations occurred in monetary trials only).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The propensity for reactive aggression (RA) which occurs in response to provocation has been linked to hyperresponsivity of the mesocorticolimbic reward network in healthy adults. Here, we aim to elucidate the role of the mesocorticolimbic network in clinically significant RA for two competing motivated behaviors, reward-seeking vs. retaliation. 18 male participants performed a variant of the Point-Subtraction Aggression Paradigm (PSAP) during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We examined whether RA participants compared with non-aggressive controls would choose to obtain a monetary reward over the opportunity to retaliate against a fictitious opponent, who provoked the participant by randomly stealing money from his earnings. Across all fMRI-PSAP runs, RA individuals vs. controls chose to work harder to earn money but not to retaliate. When engaging in such reward-seeking behavior vs. retaliation in a single fMRI-PSAP run, RA individuals exhibited increased activation in the insular-striatal part of the mesocorticolimbic salience network, and decreased precuneus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex activation compared to controls. Enhanced overall reward-seeking behavior along with an up-regulation of the mesocorticolimbic salience network and a down-regulation of the default-mode network in RA individuals indicate that RA individuals are willing to work more for monetary reward than for retaliation when presented with a choice. Our findings may suggest that the use of positive reinforcement might represent an efficacious intervention approach for the potential reduction of retaliatory behavior in clinically significant RA.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus