Amygdala-prefrontal connectivity modulates loss aversion bias in anxious individuals

Pengfei Xu, Nicholas T. Van Dam, Marie-Jose van Tol, Xueyi Shen, Zaixu Cui, Ruolei Gu, Shaozheng Qin, Andre Aleman, Jin Fan*, Yue-jia Luo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Anxious individuals tend to make pessimistic judgments in decision making under uncertainty. While this phenomenon is commonly attributed to risk aversion, loss aversion is a critical but often overlooked factor. In this study, we simultaneously examined risk aversion and loss aversion during decision making in high and low trait anxious individuals in a variable gain/loss gambling task during functional magnetic resonance imaging. Although high relative to low anxious individuals showed significant increased risk aversive behavior reflected by decreased overall gamble decisions, there was no group difference in subjective aversion to risk. Instead, loss aversion rather than risk aversion dominantly contributed to predict behavioral decisions, which was associated with attenuated functional connectivity between the amygdala-based emotional system and the prefrontal control regions. Our findings suggest a dominant role of loss aversion in maladaptive risk assessment of anxious individuals, underpinned by disorganization of emotion-related and cognitive-control-related brain networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116957
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroimage
Volume218
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2020

Keywords

  • Trait anxiety
  • Decision making
  • Loss aversion
  • Risk aversion
  • Amygdala
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • DECISION-MAKING
  • EMOTION REGULATION
  • RISK-AVERSION
  • NEURAL BASIS
  • ANXIETY
  • DEPRESSION
  • REWARD
  • PROBABILITY
  • DYSFUNCTION
  • MECHANISMS

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