Individual Differences in Insular Sensitivity During Loss Anticipation Predict Avoidance Learning

5 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2010

See all articles by Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience; Duke University - Center for Cognitive Neuroscience

Nicholas G. Hollon

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Laura L. Carstensen

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology

Abstract

The anterior insula has been implicated in both the experience and the anticipation of negative outcomes. Although individual differences in insular sensitivity have been associated with self-report measures of chronic anxiety, previous research has not examined whether individual differences in insular sensitivity predict learning to avoid aversive stimuli. In the present study, insular sensitivity was assessed as participants anticipated monetary losses while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. We found that insular responsiveness to anticipated losses predicted participants’ ability to learn to avoid losses (but not to approach gains) in a behavioral test several months later. These findings suggest that in addition to correlating with self-reported anxiety, heightened insular sensitivity may promote learning to avoid loss.

Keywords: insula, avoidance, learning, anticipation, fMRI, brain

JEL Classification: D83, D84, D87

Suggested Citation

Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R. and Hollon, Nicholas G. and Carstensen, Laura L. and Knutson, Brian, Individual Differences in Insular Sensitivity During Loss Anticipation Predict Avoidance Learning. Psychological Science, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp. 320-323, April 2008 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1679508

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Psychology and Neuroscience ( email )

Durham, NC 27708
United States

Duke University - Center for Cognitive Neuroscience ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Nicholas G. Hollon

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Laura L. Carstensen

Stanford University - Stanford Center on Longevity

Stanford University
579 Serra Mall (Serra at Galvez) - Landau Building
Stanford, CA 94305-6053
United States

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650 723 7431 (Phone)
650 725 5699 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psychology.stanford.edu/~knutson

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