Functional MRI uncovers neurobiology of dread

August 1, 2006

Functional MRI can differentiate between people who experience substantial dread of adverse experiences and those who don't, according to a study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Functional MRI can differentiate between people who experience substantial dread of adverse experiences and those who don't, according to a study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Findings could provide new insights into the neurobiology of addictive behavior.

Emory University researchers used fMRI to map the brain activity of 32 healthy subjects anticipating unpleasant stimuli. The dread of waiting increased the blood flow in areas associated with attention rather than with fear. Dread may derive from the attention devoted to the expected physical response and not simply fear. Preliminary findings were published in Science.