Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2013 Nov 20;33(47):18641-53. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1253-13.2013.

Neural basis of emotional decision making in trait anxiety.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China, Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Kentucky 40536, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9LD, United Kingdom, Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, Department of Psychology, Queens College, City University of New York, New York 10075, Department of Psychiatry, Fishberg Department of Neuroscience, and Friedman Brain Institute, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029, and Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China.


Although trait anxiety has been associated with risk decision making, whether it is related to risk per se or to the feeling of the risk, as well as the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms, remains unclear. Using a decision-making task with a manipulation of frame (i.e., written description of options as a potential gain or loss) and functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated the neurocognitive relationship between trait anxiety and decision making. The classic framing effect was observed: participants chose the safe option when it was described as a potential gain, but they avoided the same option when it was described as a potential loss. Most importantly, trait anxiety was positively correlated with this behavioral bias. Trait anxiety was also positively correlated with amygdala-based "emotional" system activation and its coupling with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) when decisions were consistent with the framing effect, but negatively correlated with the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC)-based "analytic" system activation and its connectivity to the vmPFC when decisions ran counter to the framing effect. Our findings suggest that trait anxiety is not associated with subjective risk preference but an evaluative bias of emotional information in decision making, underpinned by a hyperactive emotional system and a hypoactive analytic system in the brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center