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Changes in neural activation underlying attention processing of emotional stimuli following treatment with positive search training in anxious children

Changes in neural activation underlying attention processing of emotional stimuli following treatment with positive search training in anxious children
Changes in neural activation underlying attention processing of emotional stimuli following treatment with positive search training in anxious children

Prior research indicates that positive search training (PST) may be a promising home-based computerised treatment for childhood anxiety disorders. It explicitly trains anxious individuals in adaptive, goal-directed attention-search strategies to search for positive and calm information and ignore goal-irrelevant negative cues. Although PST reduces anxiety symptoms, its neural effects are unknown. The main aim of this study was to examine changes in neural activation associated with changes in attention processing of positive and negative stimuli from pre- to post-treatment with PST in children with anxiety disorders. Children's neural activation was assessed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a visual-probe task indexing attention allocation to threat-neutral and positive-neutral pairs. Results showed pre- to post-treatment reductions in anxiety symptoms and neural reactivity to emotional faces (angry and happy faces, relative to neutral faces) within a broad neural network linking frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions. Changes in neural reactivity were highly inter-correlated across regions. Neural reactivity to the threat-bias contrast reduced from pre- to post-treatment in the mid/posterior cingulate cortex. Results are considered in relation to prior research linking anxiety disorders and treatment effects with functioning of a broad limbic-cortical network involved in emotion reactivity and regulation, and integrative functions linking emotion, memory, sensory and motor processes and attention control.

Anxiety, Attention bias, Attention bias modification, Children, fMRI
0887-6185
22-30
Waters, Allison M.
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Cao, Yuan
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Kershaw, Rachel
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Kerbler, Georg M.
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Shum, David H.K.
67f873d9-311b-44a6-8f6c-a4ff9e125d7b
Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J.
31a3b300-dbac-4b84-9cd1-2af22f963520
Craske, Michelle G.
73ebe43a-d149-4bd1-a1ce-8cc69e8c3929
Bradley, Brendan P.
bdacaa6c-528b-4086-9448-27ebfe463514
Mogg, Karin
5f1474af-85f5-4fd3-8eb6-0371be848e30
Pine, Daniel S.
debffc1c-1efc-4bcf-81b3-87aadee1047d
Cunnington, Ross
08b4aa84-ff55-4b3e-8ef1-ec947a511d61
Waters, Allison M.
645fe1e5-8d54-4667-a198-ab6862031291
Cao, Yuan
359332cd-5985-4994-be8c-e3195638a6a6
Kershaw, Rachel
4297c7bb-c420-4091-aa6a-d1d9c080f36d
Kerbler, Georg M.
efbf4105-a693-4aa0-b96f-6e6637b8d583
Shum, David H.K.
67f873d9-311b-44a6-8f6c-a4ff9e125d7b
Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J.
31a3b300-dbac-4b84-9cd1-2af22f963520
Craske, Michelle G.
73ebe43a-d149-4bd1-a1ce-8cc69e8c3929
Bradley, Brendan P.
bdacaa6c-528b-4086-9448-27ebfe463514
Mogg, Karin
5f1474af-85f5-4fd3-8eb6-0371be848e30
Pine, Daniel S.
debffc1c-1efc-4bcf-81b3-87aadee1047d
Cunnington, Ross
08b4aa84-ff55-4b3e-8ef1-ec947a511d61

Waters, Allison M., Cao, Yuan, Kershaw, Rachel, Kerbler, Georg M., Shum, David H.K., Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J., Craske, Michelle G., Bradley, Brendan P., Mogg, Karin, Pine, Daniel S. and Cunnington, Ross (2018) Changes in neural activation underlying attention processing of emotional stimuli following treatment with positive search training in anxious children. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 55, 22-30. (doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2018.02.004).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Prior research indicates that positive search training (PST) may be a promising home-based computerised treatment for childhood anxiety disorders. It explicitly trains anxious individuals in adaptive, goal-directed attention-search strategies to search for positive and calm information and ignore goal-irrelevant negative cues. Although PST reduces anxiety symptoms, its neural effects are unknown. The main aim of this study was to examine changes in neural activation associated with changes in attention processing of positive and negative stimuli from pre- to post-treatment with PST in children with anxiety disorders. Children's neural activation was assessed with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a visual-probe task indexing attention allocation to threat-neutral and positive-neutral pairs. Results showed pre- to post-treatment reductions in anxiety symptoms and neural reactivity to emotional faces (angry and happy faces, relative to neutral faces) within a broad neural network linking frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions. Changes in neural reactivity were highly inter-correlated across regions. Neural reactivity to the threat-bias contrast reduced from pre- to post-treatment in the mid/posterior cingulate cortex. Results are considered in relation to prior research linking anxiety disorders and treatment effects with functioning of a broad limbic-cortical network involved in emotion reactivity and regulation, and integrative functions linking emotion, memory, sensory and motor processes and attention control.

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Accepted/In Press date: 28 February 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 March 2018
Published date: 1 April 2018
Keywords: Anxiety, Attention bias, Attention bias modification, Children, fMRI

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420669
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420669
ISSN: 0887-6185
PURE UUID: 0300744d-efb1-4c95-9fee-cfbb96a90c42
ORCID for Brendan P. Bradley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2801-4271

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Date deposited: 11 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 06:40

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Contributors

Author: Allison M. Waters
Author: Yuan Cao
Author: Rachel Kershaw
Author: Georg M. Kerbler
Author: David H.K. Shum
Author: Melanie J. Zimmer-Gembeck
Author: Michelle G. Craske
Author: Karin Mogg
Author: Daniel S. Pine
Author: Ross Cunnington

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