Avoiding potentially negative outcomes is a common practice in human society. For instance, a person may drive to work earlier to avoid the negative consequences and stress associated with rush-hour traffic. In such circumstances, the traffic acts as a negative reinforcer, eliciting negative affect and strengthening the action of driving earlier. Negative reinforcers can have beneficial short-term influences on behavior by prompting one to actively cope with negative affect (e.g. avoiding traffic stress). However, an avoidance response can also become maladaptive if it prevents an individual from directly addressing the stressful event, causing long-term consequences such as fostering an addictive behavior (e.g., avoiding work deadlines and stress with drug use). These responses are difficult to extinguish and can become habitual, creating a burden for the individual and society. Thus, it is imperative to understand how aversive outcomes influence human brain and behavior. Non-human animal models of aversive learning highlight the role of striatal circuits, commonly implicated in reinforcement learning, in the acquisition of avoidance or coping responses (e.g., Salamone, 1994;LeDoux &Gorman, 2001). Yet, less is known about 1) human mechanisms of avoidance learning;2) alternative means of coping with negative affect that are dependent on higher-order cognition and control and;3) the influence of a pre-existing negative emotional state or stress on active coping strategies. The goal of this application is to investigate how negative reinforcement influences human brain and behavior as a precursor to understanding how humans learn to cope with potential negative outcomes that can influence decision-making in maladaptive ways (e.g., drug abuse to alleviate negative affect). The proposed studies will build on a solid and existing research foundation on affective learning in animals, which links the striatum and avoidance behavior, by first: establishing in humans the behavior and neural correlates of simple negative reinforcement tasks modeled after animal research;and second: examining alternative means of active coping with negative reinforcement that are more common to humans, such as higher-order cognitive strategies. Finally, proposed studies will examine the influence of a pre-existing acutely stressful state on active coping through avoidance or emotion regulation strategies. This approach allows for a translational method that can also be further extended to developmental (e.g., avoidance learning during adolescence) and clinical settings (e.g., mechanisms of active coping via emotion regulation during drug craving) in future research.
The proposed studies will build on a solid and existing research foundation on affective learning in animals by first: establishing in healthy human brains the behavior and neural correlates of simple negative reinforcement tasks modeled after animal research;and second: examining alternative means of active coping with negative reinforcement that are more common to humans, such as higher-order cognitive strategies. This approach allows for a translational method that can be applied to understanding the relationship between negative reinforcement and substance abuse, setting up future clinical investigations in substance-abusing populations (e.g., mechanisms of active coping via emotion regulation during drug craving).
|Martin Braunstein, Laura; Herrera, Stefanie J; Delgado, Mauricio R (2014) Reappraisal and expected value modulate risk taking. Cogn Emot 28:172-81|
|Ravizza, Susan M; Delgado, Mauricio R (2014) Motivational enhancement of cognitive control depends on depressive symptoms. Emotion 14:646-50|
|Porcelli, Anthony John (2014) An alternative to the traditional cold pressor test: the cold pressor arm wrap. J Vis Exp :e50849|
|Speer, Megan E; Bhanji, Jamil P; Delgado, Mauricio R (2014) Savoring the past: positive memories evoke value representations in the striatum. Neuron 84:847-56|
|Bhanji, Jamil P; Delgado, Mauricio R (2014) Perceived control influences neural responses to setbacks and promotes persistence. Neuron 83:1369-75|
|Leotti, Lauren A; Delgado, Mauricio R (2014) The value of exercising control over monetary gains and losses. Psychol Sci 25:596-604|
|Lewis, Andrea H; Niznikiewicz, Michael A; Delamater, Andrew R et al. (2013) Avoidance-based human Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer. Eur J Neurosci 38:3740-8|
|Niznikiewicz, Michael A; Delgado, Mauricio R (2011) Two sides of the same coin: learning via positive and negative reinforcers in the human striatum. Dev Cogn Neurosci 1:494-505|
|Wu, Shih-Wei; Delgado, Mauricio R; Maloney, Laurence T (2011) The neural correlates of subjective utility of monetary outcome and probability weight in economic and in motor decision under risk. J Neurosci 31:8822-31|
|Martin, Laura N; Delgado, Mauricio R (2011) The influence of emotion regulation on decision-making under risk. J Cogn Neurosci 23:2569-81|
Showing the most recent 10 out of 13 publications