The brain structure and spontaneous activity baseline of the behavioral bias in trait anxiety

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Abstract

Individuals with trait anxiety are often considered to be predisposed to psychiatric disorders. However, there is great heterogeneity in the development of psychiatric disorders in this group of people and the nature of the trait anxiety is still unclear. So, we decided to explore the correlations of brain structure and brain activity with trait anxiety in normal individuals. Specifically, we investigated the correlations between trait anxiety and regional grey matter volume (rGMV) and regional BOLD, using the Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuations (ALFF) as an index in 382 university students. The results showed that the level of trait anxiety was negatively correlated with rGMV in the right middle occipital gyrus. This result indicates that individuals with high trait anxiety tend to have less image processing on conscious level. Furthermore, we found that trait anxiety was positively correlated with the ALFF in the bilateral superior frontal gyrus and the right supplementary motor area, and negatively correlated with the ALFF in the cerebellum and the thalamus. These results indicate that individuals with high trait anxiety may be more sensitive to relationships and sensory information. Overall, this study’s findings suggest that individuals with high trait anxiety have attenuated image processing on the conscious level, and exhibit stronger induced sensibility and over-processing of relationships, which is a brain imaging precondition for psychiatric disorders.

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