Social anxiety modulates risk sensitivity through activity in the anterior insula
- 1 Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
- 2 Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA
Decision neuroscience offers the potential for decomposing differences in behavior across individuals into components of valuation intimately tied to brain function. One application of this approach lies in novel conceptualizations of behavioral attributes that are aberrant in psychiatric disorders. We investigated the relationship between social anxiety and behavior in a novel socially determined risk task. Behaviorally, higher scores on a social phobia inventory (SPIN) among healthy participants were associated with an increase in risky responses. Furthermore, activity in a region of the dorsal anterior insula (dAI) scaled in proportion to SPIN score in risky versus non-risky choices. This region of the insula was functionally connected to areas in the intraparietal sulcus and anterior cingulate cortex that were related to decision-making across all participants. Overall, social anxiety was associated with decreased risk aversion in our task, consistent with previous results investigating risk taking in many everyday behaviors. Moreover, this difference was linked to the anterior insula, a region commonly implicated in risk attitudes and socio-emotional processes.
Keywords: social anxiety, risk, SPIN, anterior insula, intraparietal sulcus, anterior cingulate cortex
Citation: Tang GS, van den Bos W, Andrade EB and McClure SM (2012) Social anxiety modulates risk sensitivity through activity in the anterior insula. Front. Neurosci. 5:142. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00142
Received: 01 October 2011;
Accepted: 09 December 2011;
Published online: 03 January 2012.
Copyright: © 2012 Tang, van den Bos, Andrade and McClure. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Grace S. Tang, Department of Psychology, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Building 420, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. e-mail: email@example.com