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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.


Whole-brain-behavior correlations: brain reactivity in the left ventral/dorsal striatum, and the left anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) to reward vs. retaliation in the single fMRI run was positively correlated with reward-seeking behavior (i.e., monetary responses) across all fMRI runs, which was significantly increased in the RA group (warm color scale). The more pronounced the brain response to reward relative to retaliation within these mesocorticolimbic areas, the more increased the overall reward-seeking behavior. Whole-brain results are significant at a corrected cluster-threshold of p < 0.05 with at least 86 connected voxels (initial uncorrected height threshold: p < 0.005).
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Figure 4: Whole-brain-behavior correlations: brain reactivity in the left ventral/dorsal striatum, and the left anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) to reward vs. retaliation in the single fMRI run was positively correlated with reward-seeking behavior (i.e., monetary responses) across all fMRI runs, which was significantly increased in the RA group (warm color scale). The more pronounced the brain response to reward relative to retaliation within these mesocorticolimbic areas, the more increased the overall reward-seeking behavior. Whole-brain results are significant at a corrected cluster-threshold of p < 0.05 with at least 86 connected voxels (initial uncorrected height threshold: p < 0.005).

Mentions: The whole-brain voxelwise regression analysis (Table 3) revealed significant positive correlations in the left ventral/dorsal striatum and the anterior PFC (Figure 4), and significant negative correlations in the precuneus, the supramarginal gyrus, and medial and lateral PFC for reward-related brain responses (“Reward>Retaliation”) of the single fMRI run and monetary responses across all four runs. ROI analyses supported the whole-brain results in the striatum, revealing a significant positive correlation in the left ventral striatum (MNI coordinates: x = 20, y = 14, z = −10; cluster size = 7 voxels; T = 3.81; family-wise error corrected: ppeak = 0.041, pcluster = 0.031). There was no difference in correlations between groups.


Reward vs. Retaliation — the Role of the Mesocorticolimbic Salience Network in Human Reactive Aggression
Whole-brain-behavior correlations: brain reactivity in the left ventral/dorsal striatum, and the left anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) to reward vs. retaliation in the single fMRI run was positively correlated with reward-seeking behavior (i.e., monetary responses) across all fMRI runs, which was significantly increased in the RA group (warm color scale). The more pronounced the brain response to reward relative to retaliation within these mesocorticolimbic areas, the more increased the overall reward-seeking behavior. Whole-brain results are significant at a corrected cluster-threshold of p < 0.05 with at least 86 connected voxels (initial uncorrected height threshold: p < 0.005).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Whole-brain-behavior correlations: brain reactivity in the left ventral/dorsal striatum, and the left anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC) to reward vs. retaliation in the single fMRI run was positively correlated with reward-seeking behavior (i.e., monetary responses) across all fMRI runs, which was significantly increased in the RA group (warm color scale). The more pronounced the brain response to reward relative to retaliation within these mesocorticolimbic areas, the more increased the overall reward-seeking behavior. Whole-brain results are significant at a corrected cluster-threshold of p < 0.05 with at least 86 connected voxels (initial uncorrected height threshold: p < 0.005).
Mentions: The whole-brain voxelwise regression analysis (Table 3) revealed significant positive correlations in the left ventral/dorsal striatum and the anterior PFC (Figure 4), and significant negative correlations in the precuneus, the supramarginal gyrus, and medial and lateral PFC for reward-related brain responses (“Reward>Retaliation”) of the single fMRI run and monetary responses across all four runs. ROI analyses supported the whole-brain results in the striatum, revealing a significant positive correlation in the left ventral striatum (MNI coordinates: x = 20, y = 14, z = −10; cluster size = 7 voxels; T = 3.81; family-wise error corrected: ppeak = 0.041, pcluster = 0.031). There was no difference in correlations between groups.

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.