Joshua M. Carlson

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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research suggests that the ventral striatum (VS)/nucleus accumbens, medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and broader mesocorticolimbic dopamine system mediate aspects of reward processing from expectation of reward to pleasantness experienced upon reward attainment. In parallel, research utilizing event-related(More)
Anticipation is a central component of anxiety and the anterior insula appears to be an important neural substrate in which this process is mediated. The anterior insula is also thought to underlie the interoceptive representation of one's affective state. However, the degree to which individual differences in anticipation-related insula reactivity are(More)
Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a non-invasive optical imaging technique that can be used to measure cortical hemodynamic responses to specific stimuli or tasks. While analyses of NIRS data are normally adapted from established fMRI techniques, there are nevertheless substantial differences between the two modalities. Here, we investigate the impact of(More)
BACKGROUND Fear generalization is thought to contribute to the development and maintenance of anxiety symptoms and accordingly has been the focus of recent research. Previously, we reported that in healthy individuals (N = 25) neural reactivity in the insula, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), supplementary motor area (SMA), and caudate follow a(More)
A rapid response to environmental threat is highly adaptive and fearful facial expressions serve as important threat cues. The biological significance of these threat cues is demonstrated by neuroimaging findings of amygdala responses to backward masked fearful faces. Additionally, behavioral dot-probe studies reveal that backward masked fearful faces(More)
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) plays a critical role in a number of evaluative processes, including risk assessment. Impaired discrimination between threat and safety is considered a hallmark of clinical anxiety. Here, we investigated the circuit-wide structural and functional mechanisms underlying vmPFC threat-safety assessment in humans. We(More)
Recent studies on fear generalization have demonstrated that fear-potentiated startle and skin conductance responses to a conditioned stimulus (CS) generalize to similar stimuli, with the strength of the fear response linked to perceptual similarity to the CS. The aim of the present study was to extend this work by examining neural correlates of fear(More)
Facial expressions are a basic form of non-verbal communication that convey important social information to others. The relevancy of this information is highlighted by findings that backward masked facial expressions facilitate spatial attention. This attention effect appears to be mediated through a neural network consisting of the amygdala, anterior(More)
We investigated anger-related variability in the BOLD fMRI response to crude/masked and detailed/unmasked fearful faces. Anger expression positively covaried with amygdala activation to crude fear, while trait anger negatively covaried with amygdala responses to detailed fear. This differential processing may trigger aggression without the subsequent(More)
Based on evidence suggesting that depressive traits, emotional information processing, and the effects of nicotine may be mediated by lateralized brain mechanisms, analyses assessed the influence of depressive traits and nicotine patch on emotional priming of lateralized emotional word identification in 61 habitual smokers. Consistent with hypotheses,(More)