Worries preoccupy the working memory capacity in anxious individuals, thereby affecting their performance during tasksthat require efficient attention regulation. According to the attentional control theory (ACT), trait anxiety affects theprocessing efficiency, i.e. the effort required for task performance, more than the accuracy of task performance. Weinvestigated the relation between trait anxiety and neural response for a reasoning task in healthy subjects. Functionalmagnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was carried out on 22 healthy participants and blood oxygenation level dependent(BOLD) contrast estimates were extracted from a priori regions of interest (ROIs) that were earlier implicated in reasoning(i.e., bilaterally caudate head, globus pallidus, thalamus, prefrontal cortex [rostral, dorsal and ventral regions], inferiorparietal lobule and middle occipital gyrus). Controlling for the effects of age, gender, state anxiety and depressivesymptoms, for equivalent levels of task performance, trait anxiety of the participants was found to be associated with anincrease in task related BOLD activation in right globus pallidus, left thalamus and left middle occipital gyrus. Our resultssuggest a reduced processing efficiency for reasoning in high trait anxiety subjects and provides important brain–behaviourrelationships with respect to sub-clinical anxiety.
Volume 45, 2020
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