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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 51

New research into approach/avoidance conflict

Sparsha Psychiatry Clinic, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. P Vijayalakshmi
Sparsha Psychiatric Clinic, Vijayawada - 520 010, Andhra Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/AMH.AMH_45_18

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How to cite this article:
Vijayalakshmi P. New research into approach/avoidance conflict. Arch Ment Health 2018;19:51

How to cite this URL:
Vijayalakshmi P. New research into approach/avoidance conflict. Arch Ment Health [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Jul 9];19:51. Available from: http://www.amhonline.org/text.asp?2018/19/2/51/248896

Neuroscientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology led by Professor Ann Graybiel have done experiments on animals and found that stimulating the caudate nucleus leads the animal to avoid situations in which it would have participated previously.[1] These situations are the ones that have positive and negative outcomes and must be weighed well.

In the experiment, a reward was paired with an aversive stimulus. When the animals judge the reward to be more important than the aversive stimulus they go for the reward. It depends on the cost-benefit analysis done by them. But when the caudate nucleus was stimulated and followed up with the experiment, then the previously approached reward was now rejected. This effect lasted for more than a day. The scientists also found that the effect of stimulating the caudate nucleus lasts for a day or two. There was also a change in the beta frequency in the caudate nucleus. “The caudate nucleus has within it regions that are connected with the limbic system, which regulates mood, and it sends input to motor areas of the brain as well as dopamine-producing regions. Graybiel and Amemori believe that the abnormal activity seen in the caudate nucleus in this study could be somehow disrupting dopamine activity.” “Magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown abnormal activity in two regions of the medial prefrontal cortex that connect with the caudate nucleus.[1]

This research helps us in understanding thought patterns in chronic stress. The change in the beta frequency in the caudate nucleus can also be used as a biomarker to see the response to treatment. Chronic stress leads a person to take a decision in which there is high risk and high payoff. It is encountered in depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

“The other neuroscientists who collaborated with Professor Graygiel were Ken-ichi Amemori, Satoko Amemori and Daniel Gibson, an expert in data analysis of the McGovern research institute.”

  References Top

Amemori KI, Amemori S, Gibson DJ, Graybiel AM. Striatal microstimulation induces persistent and repetitive negative decision-making predicted by striatal beta-band oscillation. Neuron 2018;99:829-41.e6.  Back to cited text no. 1


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