Nav: Home

The brain's fight and flight responses to social threat

June 26, 2017

A study published in eNeuro exploring the neural correlates of the 'fight-or-flight' response finds that people who choose to flee perceive a greater threat, which leads them to mentally and behaviorally disengage from the situation.

Macià Buades-Rotger and colleagues designed a Lord of the Rings-themed experiment in which 36 female participants competed as Frodo against two confederates playing as Sauron and Saruman in a reaction time task. Participants could choose to avoid a limited number of encounters with their opponents by "putting the Ring on." If they chose to stay and fight, they had to select the intensity of a sound blast (retaliation) that would be directed toward their opponent if the participant won the task by having a quicker reaction time. The task was set so that participants lost two-thirds of trials, and each opponent gave either high or low sound blasts.

The authors found that brain regions associated with thinking about the mental state of others were engaged when deciding to flee. However, when facing the highly provoking opponent, the "flight" response was associated with reduced activity in these regions and increased activity in the amygdala, indicating increased threat detection.
-end-
Article: Avoidant responses to interpersonal provocation are associated with increased amygdala and decreased mentalizing network activity
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0337-16.2017

Corresponding author: Macià Buades-Rotger (University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany), macia.rotger@neuro.uni-luebeck.de

About eNeuro

eNeuro is an online, open-access journal published by the Society for Neuroscience. Established in 2014, eNeuro publishes a wide variety of content, including research articles, short reports, reviews, commentaries and opinions.

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 38,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

Society for Neuroscience

Related Brain Regions Articles:

As information flows through brain's heirarchy, higher regions use higher frequency waves
New study by MIT neuroscientists also finds specific frequency bands associated with encoding, or inhibiting encoding, of sensory information across the cortex.
Got fatigue? Study further pinpoints brain regions that may control it
Scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine using MRI scans and computer modeling say they have further pinpointed areas of the human brain that regulate efforts to deal with fatigue.
Study reveals greater excitability in social brain regions of autistic men compared to women
New insight on differences in the brains of men and women with autism has been published today in the open-access journal eLife.
Study reveals less connectivity between hey brain regions in people with FXTAS premutation
Investigators from the University of Kansas were able to identify brain processes specifically linked to sensorimotor issues in aging people with the FMR1 premutation.
Brain mapping study suggests motor regions for the hand also connect to the entire body
In a paper publishing March 26 in the journal Cell, investigators report that they have used microelectrode arrays implanted in human brains to map out motor functions down to the level of the single nerve cell.
Analyzing patients shortly after stroke can help link brain regions to speech functions
New research from Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine shows analyzing the brains of stroke victims just days after the stroke allows researchers to link various speech functions to different parts of the brain, an important breakthrough that may lead to better treatment and recovery.
Learning difficulties due to poor connectivity, not specific brain regions
Different learning difficulties do not correspond to specific regions of the brain, as previously thought, say researchers at the University of Cambridge.
Alcohol byproduct contributes to brain chemistry changes in specific brain regions
Study of mouse models provides clear implications for new targets to treat alcohol use disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Childhood obesity linked to structural differences in key brain regions
Obesity in children is associated with differences in brain structure in regions linked to cognitive control compared to the brains of children who are normal weight, according to new research from the University of Cambridge.
How the brain repurposes unused regions
In adults that are born blind, the 'visual' cortex is activated in a similar way during a listening task, according to new research in JNeurosci.
More Brain Regions News and Brain Regions Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.