Closer threats inspire a more primitive kind of fear

loading...

Closer threats inspire a more primitive kind of fear
Small shocks conditioned study subjects to fear one particular virtual scary guy in a dark alley while researchers watched their brain connectivity in an MRI. Credit: LaBar Lab, Duke University

Your brain handles a perceived threat differently depending on how close it is to you. If it’s far away, you engage more problem-solving areas of the brain. But up close, your animal instincts jump into action and there isn’t as much reasoning, like when the guy at the haunted house jumps up right next to you.

And that, according to a new study using to make threats appear near or far, is probably what makes it harder to extinguish the fear of a close-up and more likely that you’ll have some long-term stress from the experience.

It has been shown that that touch the body, like rape and other physical assaults, are more strongly associated with post-traumatic stress disorder than are traumas viewed at some distance.

Now, thanks to a clever adaption that put into a 3-D virtual reality environment while their brains were being scanned by an MRI machine, researchers have seen just how the circuitry of those brain responses differ.

“Clinically, people who develop PTSD are more likely to have experienced threats that invaded their personal space, assaults or rapes or witnessing a crime at a close distance. They’re the people that tend to develop this long-lasting threat memory,” said Kevin LaBar, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who is the senior author on a paper appearing this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We’ve never been able to study that in the lab because you have a fixed distance to the computer screen,” LaBar said.

But Duke graduate student Leonard Faul and postdoc Daniel Stjepanovic figured out a way to do it, using a 3-D television, a mirror and some MRI-safe 3-D glasses.

“It’s like an IMAX experience,” LaBar said. “The threatening characters popped out of the screen and would either invade your as you’re navigating this virtual world, or they were farther away.”

The VR simulation put 49 study subjects into a first-person view that had them moving down either a dark alley or a brighter, tree-lined street as they lay in the MRI tube having their brains scanned. Ambient sound and visual backgrounds were altered to provide some context for the threat versus safe memories.

On the first day of testing, subjects received a mild shock when the “threat avatar” appeared, either two feet away or 10 feet away, but not when they saw the safe avatar at the same distances.

The data from the first day showed that near threats were more frightening and they engaged limbic and mid-brain “survival circuitry,” in a way that the farther threats did not.

The following day, subjects encountered the same scenarios again but only a few shocks were given initially to remind them of the threatening context. Once again, the subjects showed a greater behavioral response to near threats than to distant threats.

“On the second day, we got fear reinstatement, both near and far threats, but it was stronger for the near threat,” LaBar said.

Tellingly, the nearby threats that engaged the survival circuits also proved harder to extinguish after they no longer produced shocks. The farther threats that engaged more higher-order thinking in the cortex were easier to extinguish. The near threats engaged the cerebellum, and the persistence of this signal predicted how much fear was reinstated the next day, LaBar said. “It’s the evolutionarily older cortex.”

The more distant threats showed greater connectivity between the amygdala, hippocampus and ventral medial prefrontal cortex and the areas of the cortex related to complex planning and visual processing, areas the researchers said are more related to thinking one’s way out of a situation and coping.

Understanding the brain’s response to trauma at this level might point to new therapies for PTSD, LaBar said.

“We think that the cerebellum might be an interesting place to intervene,” he said. “Clinically, it’s a new interventional target. If you can somehow get rid of that persistent threat representation in the cerebellum, you might be less likely to reinstate (the fear) later on.”


Anxious people quicker to flee danger


More information:
Leonard Faul el al., “Proximal threats promote enhanced acquisition and persistence of reactive fear-learning circuits,” PNAS (2020). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2004258117
Provided by
Duke University


Citation:
Closer threats inspire a more primitive kind of fear (2020, June 29)
retrieved 29 June 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-06-closer-threats-primitive-kind.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.



loading...
(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)

Related posts:

Mexico reverses some openings as virus cases continue high
Area C, the chunk of the West Bank the Israeli right has long coveted
Dog in Georgia tests positive for virus that causes COVID-19
Pubs open, gyms shut: England's health dilemma
China plans reforms to organ donation rules
Covid 19: Making the poor poorer
Catalonia places 200,000 people under new lockdown following Covid-19 surge
US marks record 57,683 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours: tracker
As much of US marks a muted Independence Day, Trump encourages big parties
WHO says first alerted to virus by its office, not China
Paris's Louvre reopens on Monday after lockdown losses of 'over €40 million'
How coronavirus self-isolation fatigue may lead to more beach drownings this summer
what's the new coronavirus saliva test, and how does it work?
The WHO's risky communication strategy created confusion around COVID-19
England's pubs, restaurants and hairdressers reopen as COVID-19 lockdown eases
French jihadist sentenced to 30 years for IS group executions in Syria
We looked at the health star rating of 20,000 foods and this is what we found
Trump rallies against anti-racism protesters seeking to 'defame' heroes
The US has bought most of the world's remdesivir. Here's what it means for the rest of us
Antibodies against phosphorylcholine give protection against rheumatic systemic disease
Researchers determine how much oxygen the brain needs
Britain eases virus quarantine as US under siege
Researchers find fans of apocalyptic movies may be coping with pandemic better
Some say allow family access to dying patients with COVID-19
11 of Our Best Weekend Reads
China aims to phase out sale of live poultry at food markets
U.S. Coronavirus Cases Are Rising Sharply, but Deaths Are Still Down
Spain counts 17 new virus deaths in 24 hours
At least thirty villagers massacred in central Mali terror attacks
Point-prevalence surveys in SNFs help cut COVID-19 transmission
Saudi Arabia passes 200,000 virus cases
French court opens inquiry into former PM Philippe in handling of Covid crisis
Protective antibodies identified for rare, polio-like disease in children
Air France to cut 7,580 jobs at French flagship carrier and regional unit Hop!
New French PM Castex says priority to meet Covid-19 pandemic, economic crisis as he takes helm
'Data not lying', WHO urges countries to 'wake up' and halt virus
Prosecutors seek life term for French jihadist accused of Syria executions
Mystery of hundreds of elephants found dead in Botswana
Injuries shoot up after fireworks laws loosened in West Virginia
‘We can’t afford an ounce of meat’: Economic crisis strangles Lebanon
Algeria welcomes remains of fighters against colonisation from France
Neurological symptoms described in children with COVID-19
United States: In Louisiana, Cajuns are keen to preserve their identity
HIV may not worsen COVID-19 outlook
250. Split-Lebertransplantation am UKR - Biermann Medizin
Live Coronavirus Updates: U.S. Leaders Change Course
EU authorises use of remdesivir to treat coronavirus
Turkey challenges allies and enemies alike in quest for ‘larger role on world stage’
Porres neuer Chefarzt in Leverkusen
Even gut immune response is site-specific
Systemische Therapie kann jetzt mit den Krankenkassen abgerechnet werden
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tied to Increased Dementia Risk
Macron names Jean Castex as new French prime minister
Popular chemotherapy drug may be less effective in overweight and obese women
Studie: Junge Menschen rauchen und trinken weniger
Can an Algorithm Predict the Pandemic’s Next Moves?
Death toll climbs to more than 160 in Myanmar jade mine disaster
Israeli, UAE technology firms pen deal on virus research
Netanyahu's annexation plan, China's campaign against Uighurs and Hollywood before the censors
Uniklinik Köln: Augenheilkundliche Spezialbereiche jetzt in Deutschlands größtem Krebs-Ambulatorium
Dutch report new coronavirus infection on mink farm
Berufsverband will Weiterbildungsförderung auch für Urologen
French PM Édouard Philippe and his government resign as Macron prepares cabinet reshuffle
Florida under siege as pandemic accelerates
Japan asks US to extradite two men accused of helping ex-Nissan chief Ghosn escape
MB: EU-Ratspräsidentschaft als Chance für mehr Kooperation in Gesundheitsfragen nutzen
Monkeys infected with novel coronavirus developed short-term immunity
Das sichtbare Skelett 2.0 - Biermann Medizin
Peru surpasses 10,000 coronavirus deaths: health ministry
Herzreparatur mit der Gen-Schere - Biermann Medizin
UK to end quarantine for travelers from 'low-risk' countries
Turkish court opens trial of Saudi officials in killing of journalist Khashoggi
New study reveals how the brain organizes information about odors
French court to rule on reopening probe of former Rwandan president's assassination
Study could show why heart events increase seasonally
US Senate unanimously votes to approve draconian 'Hong Kong Autonomy Act'
US new single-day Covid-19 cases hit new worldwide record of over 55,000
Study says crowdsourced data could help map urban food deserts
Police in Europe arrest over 800 users of encrypted phone system used to plot crime
Artificial intelligence brings pancreatic cancer screening one step closer to reality
The Young Cut Loose in Myrtle Beach. The Virus Followed Them Home.
Study exposes disparities in health care access in rural Southern California
Florida State University Child Care Policy Draws Backlash
Surge in domestic child abuse during pandemic, reports specialist UK children's hospital
Live Coronavirus News: Updates and Video
Marijuana use while pregnant boosts risk of children's sleep problems
US sanctions against international court staff an act of ‘revenge’, says ICC’s Fatou Bensouda
New, more infectious strain of COVID-19 now dominates global cases of virus: study
‘We disinfect everything’: Amsterdam’s red-light district re-opens
France's Macron to embark on next phase of his presidency with ‘new team’
When Your Tween Is Bored
Why are more young people getting coronavirus?
Ideen-Wettbewerb: Woche des Sehens in Corona-Zeiten
French prosecutors seek trial for football star Karim Benzema over sextape scandal
Talking With Your Teen About Anti-Racism? Be Ready to Listen
COVID-19 death risk twice as high in New York City as some countries
Turkey demands apology from France over naval incident claim
CBM-Jahresbericht 2019: Mehr Geld für die Projektarbeit
Venezuela reverses decision to expel EU ambassador
How the body fights off urinary tract infections

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

A është e dëmshme të përtypësh akull?

Mon Jun 29 , 2020
Disa njerëz e pinë kafenë e tyre në mëngjes të ftohtë, disa të tjerë preferojnë një pije me akull…Ne s’ e dimë në cilën kategori futeni ju, ama jemi të sigurt se pa një filxhan të madh kafeje me akull disa s’ mund të nisin ditën Pavarësisht faktit Me kusht […]