When Viewing Threat, Behaviorally Inhibited Children Exhibit Neural Responses Similar to Anxious Individuals

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Recent research from graduate student Eran Auday and collaborators examined neural responses to threat for Behaviorally Inhibited (BI) and Non-Behaviorally Inhibited (BN) children between the ages of 9 and 12. Children were presented with threatening faces subliminally while fMRI data were collected. When BN children viewed the subliminal threat, they exhibited responses in prefrontal brain regions thought to regulate “alarms” triggered by emotion brain regions. Conversely, when BI children viewed the subliminal threat, they exhibited responses in the cerebellum, a brain region linked to the coordination of emotional information processing. The findings suggest that brain-based differences can be seen in children even when minimal information is present. Additionally, the current findings are similar to previous work in anxious teens and young adults, suggesting BI children may exhibit functional neurocircuitry similar to anxious individuals, particularly when viewing threat. 

These findings are to be published in NeuroImage: Clinical