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Functional magnetic resonance imaging in association with an instructed fear/anticipatory anxiety paradigm was used to explore sex differences in the human fear response. During anticipation of mild electrodermal stimulation, women, as compared with men, demonstrated increased activity in the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and functionally related regions of the insula and brainstem. The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex is a region critical for emotional control implicated in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disease. Present findings suggest a contributory neural substrate for the greater susceptibility of women to anxiety and affective disorders, and emphasize the importance of considering participant sex when designing and interpreting functional neuroimaging studies.