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Appetitive motivation predicts the neural response to facial signals of aggression

Beaver, John D., Lawrence, Andrew David ORCID:, Passamonti, Luca and Calder, Andrew J. 2008. Appetitive motivation predicts the neural response to facial signals of aggression. Journal of Neuroscience 28 (11) , pp. 2719-2725. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0033-08.2008

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The “behavioral approach system” (BAS) (Gray, 1990) has been primarily associated with reward processing and positive affect. However, additional research has demonstrated that the BAS plays a role in aggressive behavior, heightened experience of anger, and increased attention to facial signals of aggression. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we show that variation in the BAS trait in healthy participants predicts activation in neural regions implicated in aggression when participants view facial signals of aggression in others. Increased BAS drive (appetitive motivation) was associated with increased amygdala activation and decreased ventral anterior cingulate and ventral striatal activation to facial signals of aggression, relative to sad and neutral expressions. In contrast, increased behavioral inhibition was associated with increased activation in the dorsal anterior cingulate, a region involved in the perception of fear and threat. Our results provide the first demonstration that appetitive motivation constitutes a significant factor governing the function of neural regions implicated in aggression, and have implications for understanding clinical disorders of aggression.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: anger; facial expressions; reward; amygdala; subgenual cingulate; ventral striatum
Additional Information: “Copyright of all material published in The Journal of Neuroscience remains with the authors. The authors grant the Society for Neuroscience an exclusive license to publish their work for the first 6 months. After 6 months the work becomes available to the public to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.( ” See:
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Last Modified: 10 May 2023 07:39

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