Behavioral activation system modulation on brain activation during appetitive and aversive stimulus processing

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The reinforcement sensitivity theory (RST) proposed the behavioral activation system (BAS) as a neurobehavioral system that is dependent on dopamine-irrigated structures and that mediates the individual differences in sensitivity and reactivity to appetitive stimuli associated with BAS-related personality traits. Theoretical developments propose that high BAS sensitivity is associated with both enhanced appetitive stimuli processing and the diminished processing of aversive stimuli. The objective of this study was to analyze how individual differences in BAS functioning were associated with brain activation during erotic and aversive picture processing while subjects were involved in a simple goal-directed task. Forty-five male participants took part in this study. The task activation results confirm the activation of the reward and punishment brain-related structures while viewing erotic and aversive pictures, respectively. The SR scores show a positive correlation with activation of the left lateral prefrontal cortex, the mesial prefrontal cortex and the right occipital cortex while viewing erotic pictures, and a negative correlation with the right lateral prefrontal cortex and the left occipital cortex while viewing aversive pictures. In summary, the SR scores modulate the activity of the cortical areas in the prefrontal and the occipital cortices that are proposed to modulate the BAS and the BIS-FFFS.

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