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  • Åhs, Fredrik, et al. (författare)
  • Arousal modulation of memory and amygdala-parahippocampal connectivity : A PET-psychophysiology study in specific phobia
  • 2011
  • Ingår i: Psychophysiology. - : John Wiley & Sons. - 0048-5772 .- 1469-8986 .- 1540-5958. ; 48:11, s. 1463-1469
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Phobic fear is accompanied by intense bodily responses modulated by the amygdala. An amygdala moderated psychophysiological measure related to arousal is electrodermal activity. We evaluated the contributions of electrodermal activity to amygdala-parahippocampal regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during phobic memory encoding in subjects with spider or snake phobia. Recognition memory was increased for phobia-related slides and covaried with rCBF in the amygdala and the parahippocampal gyrus. The covariation between parahippocampal rCBF and recognition was related to electrodermal activity suggesting that parahippocampal memory processes were associated with sympathetic activity. Electrodermal activity further mediated the amygdala effect on parahippocampal activity. Memory encoding during phobic fear therefore seems contingent on amygdala's influence on arousal and parahippocampal activity.
  • Åhs, Fredrik, et al. (författare)
  • Biological preparedness and resistance to extinction of skin conductance responses conditioned to fear relevant animal pictures : A systematic review
  • 2018
  • Ingår i: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. - : Elsevier. - 0149-7634 .- 1873-7528. ; 95, s. 430-437
  • Forskningsöversikt (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Preparedness theory is one of the most influential ideas in explaining the origin of specific phobias. The theory proposes that fear conditioning is selective to animals that have posed a threat to survival throughout human evolution, and that acquired fear memories to such threats are resistant to extinction. We reviewed fear conditioning studies testing whether autonomic responses conditioned to pictures of snakes and spiders show greater resistance to extinction than neutral cues. We identified 32 fear conditioning experiments published in 23 studies including 1887 participants. Increased resistance to extinction of conditioned responses to snake and spider pictures was found in 10 (31%) of the experiments, whereas 22 (69%) experiments did not support the hypothesis. Thus, the body of evidence suggests that preparedness theory does not explain the origin of specific phobias.
  • Åhs, Fredrik, et al. (författare)
  • Feature-based representations of emotional facial expressions in the human amygdala.
  • 2014
  • Ingår i: Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience. - 1749-5016 .- 1749-5024. ; 9:9, s. 1372-1378
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The amygdala plays a central role in processing facial affect, responding to diverse expressions and features shared between expressions. Although speculation exists regarding the nature of relationships between expression- and feature-specific amygdala reactivity, this matter has not been fully explored. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging and principal component analysis (PCA) in a sample of 300 young adults, to investigate patterns related to expression- and feature-specific amygdala reactivity to faces displaying neutral, fearful, angry or surprised expressions. The PCA revealed a two-dimensional correlation structure that distinguished emotional categories. The first principal component separated neutral and surprised from fearful and angry expressions, whereas the second principal component separated neutral and angry from fearful and surprised expressions. This two-dimensional correlation structure of amygdala reactivity may represent specific feature-based cues conserved across discrete expressions. To delineate which feature-based cues characterized this pattern, face stimuli were averaged and then subtracted according to their principal component loadings. The first principal component corresponded to displacement of the eyebrows, whereas the second principal component corresponded to increased exposure of eye whites together with movement of the brow. Our results suggest a convergent representation of facial affect in the amygdala reflecting feature-based processing of discrete expressions.
  • Åhs, Fredrik, et al. (författare)
  • Medial prefrontal pathways for the contextual regulation of extinguished fear in humans
  • 2015
  • Ingår i: NeuroImage. - : Elsevier. - 1053-8119 .- 1095-9572. ; 122, s. 262-271
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • The maintenance of anxiety disorders is thought to depend, in part, on deficits in extinction memory, possibly due to reduced contextual control of extinction that leads to fear renewal. Animal studies suggest that the neural circuitry responsible fear renewal includes the hippocampus, amygdala, and dorsomedial (dmPFC) and ventromedial (vmPFC) prefrontal cortex. However, the neural mechanisms of context-dependent fear renewal in humans remain poorly understood. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), combined with psychophysiology and immersive virtual reality, to elucidate how the hippocampus, amygdala, and dmPFC and vmPFC interact to drive the context-dependent renewal of extinguished fear. Healthy human participants encountered dynamic fear-relevant conditioned stimuli (CSs) while navigating through 3-D virtual reality environments in the MRI scanner. Conditioning and extinction were performed in two different virtual contexts. Twenty-four hours later, participants were exposed to the CSs without reinforcement while navigating through both contexts in the MRI scanner. Participants showed enhanced skin conductance responses (SCRs) to the previously-reinforced CS + in the acquisition context on Day 2, consistent with fear renewal, and sustained responses in the dmPFC. In contrast, participants showed low SCRs to the CSs in the extinction context on Day 2, consistent with extinction recall, and enhanced vmPFC activation to the non-reinforced CS -. Structural equation modeling revealed that the dmPFC fully mediated the effect of the hippocampus on right amygdala activity during fear renewal, whereas the vmPFC partially mediated the effect of the hippocampus on right amygdala activity during extinction recall. These results indicate dissociable contextual influences of the hippocampus on prefrontal pathways, which, in turn, determine the level of reactivation of fear associations.
  • Åhs, Fredrik, et al. (författare)
  • Medial temporal lobe resection attenuates superior temporal sulcus response to faces
  • 2014
  • Ingår i: Neuropsychologia. - 0028-3932 .- 1873-3514. ; 61, s. 291-298
  • Tidskriftsartikel (refereegranskat)abstract
    • Face perception depends on activation of a core face processing network including the fusiform face area, the occipital face area and the superior temporal sulcus (STS). The medial temporal lobe (MTL) is also involved in decoding facial expression and damage to the anterior MTL, including the amygdala, generally interferes with emotion recognition. The impairment in emotion recognition following anterior MTL injury can be a direct result from injured MTL circuitry, as well as an indirect result from decreased MTL modulation of areas in the core face network. To test whether the MTL modulates activity in the core face network, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate activation in the core face processing network in patients with right or left anterior temporal lobe resections (ATR) due to intractable epilepsy. We found reductions of face-related activation in the right STS after both right and left ATR together with impaired recognition of facial expressions. Reduced activity in the fusiform and the occipital face areas was also observed in patients after right ATR suggesting widespread effects on activity in the core face network in this group. The reduction in face-related STS activity after both right and left ATR suggests that MTL modulation of the STS may facilitate recognition of facial expression.
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