The proposed experimental program is designed to assess changes in brain function that occur with fearful anticipation of a painful stimulus. Its principal aim is to determine the relationship between activity in specific brain structures (as defined by changes in regional blood flow), reports of fear arousal, and the electrocortical, visceral, and somatic responses that occur when expecting a painful stimulus. This research is driven by a motivational theory of human emotion that is founded on behavioral, psychophysiological, and neurophysiological research. The proposed studies are intended to explicate neural mechanisms that mediate fear of pain in normal humans, and furthermore, to examine possible individual differences in anticipation of pain between men and women, and between those who are low or high in dental fear.
The specific aim of the proposed research is to map neural activation in the brain during fearful anticipation evoked by imminent painful stimulation, and to relate the obtained brain maps to psychophysiological patterns of fear reactivity. Three primary independent variables are assessed: 1) The type of anticipated stimulus (electric shock or nonpainful vibrotactile); 2) Dental fear level of the subject (low, high); and 3) Sex of the subject. Each of these eight studies (2 stimulus type x 2 fear groups x 2 sex) will be conducted once in the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) context to assess functional brain activity, and once (with new participants) in a simulated MRI context to acquire autonomic, somatic, and central (i.e., EEG) physiological measures of anticipatory fear. The proposed research will address questions concerning the neural and psychophysiological organization of fear associated with imminent pain, as well as how individual differences in fear and/or sex affect these reactions. The proposed methodology is, furthermore, adaptable and can be used subsequently to address other facets (sensory and emotional) of the pain experience.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-2 (01))
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Canto, Maria Teresa
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University of Florida
Other Health Professions
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Bradley, Margaret M; Zlatar, Zvinka Z; Lang, Peter J (2018) Startle reflex modulation during threat of shock and ""threat"" of reward. Psychophysiology 55:
Costa, Vincent D; Bradley, Margaret M; Lang, Peter J (2015) From threat to safety: instructed reversal of defensive reactions. Psychophysiology 52:325-32
Versace, Francesco; Bradley, Margaret M; Lang, Peter J (2010) Memory and event-related potentials for rapidly presented emotional pictures. Exp Brain Res 205:223-33
Van Diest, Ilse; Bradley, Margaret M; Guerra, Pedro et al. (2009) Fear-conditioned respiration and its association to cardiac reactivity. Biol Psychol 80:212-7
Bradley, Margaret M; Silakowski, Tammy; Lang, Peter J (2008) Fear of pain and defensive activation. Pain 137:156-63
Pastor, M Carmen; Bradley, Margaret M; Low, Andreas et al. (2008) Affective picture perception: emotion, context, and the late positive potential. Brain Res 1189:145-51
Meng, Xiaoxian; Heft, Marc W; Bradley, Margaret M et al. (2007) Effect of fear on dental utilization behaviors and oral health outcome. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 35:292-301
Heft, Marc W; Meng, Xiaoxian; Bradley, Margaret M et al. (2007) Gender differences in reported dental fear and fear of dental pain. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 35:421-8
Sabatinelli, Dean; Lang, Peter J; Keil, Andreas et al. (2007) Emotional perception: correlation of functional MRI and event-related potentials. Cereb Cortex 17:1085-91
Keil, Andreas; Bradley, Margaret M; Junghofer, Markus et al. (2007) Cross-modal attention capture by affective stimuli: evidence from event-related potentials. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci 7:18-24

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