Anticipation of Uncertain Threat Modulates Subsequent Affective Responses and Covariation Bias

Zhiling Qiao, Haiyang Geng, Yi Wang, Xuebing Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)
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    Abstract

    Uncertainty contributes to stress and anxiety-like behaviors by impairing the ability of participants to objectively estimate threat. Our study used the cue-picture paradigm in conjunction with the event-related potential (ERP) technique to explore the temporal dynamics of anticipation for and response to uncertain threat in healthy individuals. This task used two types of cue. While 'certain' cues precisely forecasted the valence of the subsequent pictures (negative or neutral), the valence of pictures following 'uncertain' cues was not predictable. ERP data showed that, during anticipation, uncertain cues elicited similar Stimulus-Preceding Negativity (SPN) to certain-negative cues, while both of them elicited larger SPN than certain-neutral cues. During affective processing, uncertainty enlarged the mean amplitude of late positive potential (LPP) for both negative and neutral pictures. Behavioral data showed that participants reported more negative mood ratings of uncertain-neutral pictures relative to certain-neutral pictures and overestimated the probability of negative pictures following uncertain cues. Importantly, the enlarged anticipatory activity evoked by uncertain cues relative to that evoked by certain-neutral cues positively modulated the more negative mood ratings of uncertain-neutral pictures relative to certain-neutral pictures. Further, this more negative mood ratings and the general arousal anticipation during anticipatory stage contributed to the covariation bias. These results can provide a novel insight into understanding the neural mechanism and pathological basis of anxiety.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2547
    Number of pages14
    JournalFrontiers in Psychology
    Volume9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 11-Dec-2018

    Keywords

    • uncertainty
    • altered anticipation
    • covariation bias
    • affection
    • ERP
    • CONTINGENT NEGATIVE-VARIATION
    • A-PRIORI EXPECTANCY
    • ILLUSORY CORRELATIONS
    • CULTURAL-DIFFERENCES
    • STIMULUS DIMENSIONS
    • ANTERIOR CINGULATE
    • AVERSIVE TASTE
    • HEART-RATE
    • ANXIETY
    • POTENTIALS

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