Distress tolerance to auditory feedback and functional connectivity with the auditory cortex.
Distress tolerance is the capacity to withstand negative affective states in pursuit of a goal. Low distress tolerance may bias an individual to avoid or escape experiences that induce affective distress, but the neural mechanisms underlying the bottom-up generation of distress and its relationship to behavioral avoidance are poorly understood. During a neuroimaging scan, healthy participants completed a mental arithmetic task with easy and distress phases, which differed in cognitive demands and positive versus negative auditory feedback. Then, participants were given the opportunity to continue playing the distress phase for a financial bonus and were allowed to quit at any time. The persistence duration was the measure of distress tolerance. The easy and distress phases activated auditory cortices and fronto-parietal regions. A task-based functional connectivity analysis using the left secondary auditory cortex (i.e., planum temporale) as the seed region revealed stronger connectivity to fronto-parietal regions and anterior insula during the distress phase. The distress-related connectivity between the seed region and the left anterior insula was negatively correlated with distress tolerance. The results provide initial evidence of the role of the anterior insula as a mediating link between the bottom-up generation of affective distress and top-down behavioral avoidance of distress.
Addicott, MA; Daughters, SB; Strauman, TJ; Appelbaum, LG
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