Poster B21, Sunday, March 26, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Anodal Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation over Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Alters Decision Making During Approach-Avoidance Conflict
Evangelia G. Chrysikou1, Claire Gorey2, Robin L. Aupperle3,4; 1University of Kansas, 2University of South Florida, 3Laureate Institute for Brain Research, 4University of Tulsa
Approach-avoidance conflict refers to situations associated with both rewarding and threatening outcomes. The approach-avoidance conflict (AAC) task was developed to measure approach-avoidance conflict decision-making. Approach behavior during this task has been linked to self-reported anxiety sensitivity and has elicited anterior cingulate, insula, caudate, and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) activity, with right lateral PFC tracking the extent of approach behavior. Guided by these results, we used excitatory transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to demonstrate the causal involvement of right dlPFC in approach-avoidance conflict decision-making. Participants received anodal tDCS at 1.5mA over either left or right dlPFC or sham stimulation, while performing the AAC task and a control short-term memory task. Analyses of variance revealed that for individuals with high anxiety sensitivity excitatory right (but not left or sham) dlPFC stimulation elicited measurable decreases in approach behavior during conflict. Excitatory left (but not right or sham) dlPFC simulation improved performance on the control task. These results support a possible asymmetry between the contributions of right and left dlPFC to approach-avoidance conflict resolution during emotional decision-making. Increased activity in right dlPFC may contribute to anxiety-related symptoms and, as such, serve as a neurobehavioral target of anxiolytic treatments aiming to decrease avoidance behavior.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions