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      Diminished positive affect and traumatic stress: A biobehavioral review and commentary on trauma affective neuroscience

      review-article
      Neurobiology of Stress
      Elsevier
      Trauma, Stress, Affect, Emotional numbing, Imaging, Reward

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          Abstract

          Post-traumatic stress manifests in disturbed affect and emotion, including exaggerated severity and frequency of negative valence emotions, e.g., fear, anxiety, anger, shame, and guilt. However, another core feature of common post-trauma psychopathologies, i.e. post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression, is diminished positive affect, or reduced frequency and intensity of positive emotions and affective states such as happiness, joy, love, interest, and desire/capacity for interpersonal affiliation. There remains a stark imbalance in the degree to which the neuroscience of each affective domain has been probed and characterized in PTSD, with our knowledge of post-trauma diminished positive affect remaining comparatively underdeveloped. This remains a prominent barrier to realizing the clinical breakthroughs likely to be afforded by the increasing availability of neuroscience assessment and intervention tools. In this review and commentary, the author summarizes the modest extant neuroimaging literature that has probed diminished positive affect in PTSD using reward processing behavioral paradigms, first briefly reviewing and outlining the neurocircuitry implicated in reward and positive emotion and its interrelationship with negative emotion and negative valence circuitry. Specific research guidelines are then offered to best and most efficiently develop the knowledge base in this area in a way that is clinically translatable and will exert a positive impact on routine clinical care. The author concludes with the prediction that the development of an integrated, bivalent theoretical and predictive model of how trauma impacts affective neurocircuitry to promote post-trauma psychopathology will ultimately lead to breakthroughs in how trauma treatments are conceptualized mechanistically and developed pragmatically.

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          Most cited references131

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          The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

          In this article, the author describes a new theoretical perspective on positive emotions and situates this new perspective within the emerging field of positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory posits that experiences of positive emotions broaden people's momentary thought-action repertoires, which in turn serves to build their enduring personal resources, ranging from physical and intellectual resources to social and psychological resources. Preliminary empirical evidence supporting the broaden-and-build theory is reviewed, and open empirical questions that remain to be tested are identified. The theory and findings suggest that the capacity to experience positive emotions may be a fundamental human strength central to the study of human flourishing.
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            Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body.

            Converging evidence indicates that primates have a distinct cortical image of homeostatic afferent activity that reflects all aspects of the physiological condition of all tissues of the body. This interoceptive system, associated with autonomic motor control, is distinct from the exteroceptive system (cutaneous mechanoreception and proprioception) that guides somatic motor activity. The primary interoceptive representation in the dorsal posterior insula engenders distinct highly resolved feelings from the body that include pain, temperature, itch, sensual touch, muscular and visceral sensations, vasomotor activity, hunger, thirst, and 'air hunger'. In humans, a meta-representation of the primary interoceptive activity is engendered in the right anterior insula, which seems to provide the basis for the subjective image of the material self as a feeling (sentient) entity, that is, emotional awareness.
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              Dynamic causal modelling.

              In this paper we present an approach to the identification of nonlinear input-state-output systems. By using a bilinear approximation to the dynamics of interactions among states, the parameters of the implicit causal model reduce to three sets. These comprise (1) parameters that mediate the influence of extrinsic inputs on the states, (2) parameters that mediate intrinsic coupling among the states, and (3) [bilinear] parameters that allow the inputs to modulate that coupling. Identification proceeds in a Bayesian framework given known, deterministic inputs and the observed responses of the system. We developed this approach for the analysis of effective connectivity using experimentally designed inputs and fMRI responses. In this context, the coupling parameters correspond to effective connectivity and the bilinear parameters reflect the changes in connectivity induced by inputs. The ensuing framework allows one to characterise fMRI experiments, conceptually, as an experimental manipulation of integration among brain regions (by contextual or trial-free inputs, like time or attentional set) that is revealed using evoked responses (to perturbations or trial-bound inputs, like stimuli). As with previous analyses of effective connectivity, the focus is on experimentally induced changes in coupling (cf., psychophysiologic interactions). However, unlike previous approaches in neuroimaging, the causal model ascribes responses to designed deterministic inputs, as opposed to treating inputs as unknown and stochastic.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Neurobiol Stress
                Neurobiol Stress
                Neurobiology of Stress
                Elsevier
                2352-2895
                21 October 2018
                November 2018
                21 October 2018
                : 9
                : 214-230
                Affiliations
                [1]Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
                [2]Stanford Neurosciences Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
                [3]Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System, The Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Palo Alto, CA, USA
                Author notes
                []Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Sierra-Pacific Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC), Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare System, 401 Quarry Road, MC 5722, Stanford, CA, 94305, USA. gfonzo@ 123456stanford.edu
                Article
                S2352-2895(18)30038-9
                10.1016/j.ynstr.2018.10.002
                6234277
                30450386
                866de4d8-4065-4432-ab59-6881925fc91b
                © 2018 Published by Elsevier Inc.

                This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

                History
                : 15 May 2018
                : 20 July 2018
                : 17 October 2018
                Categories
                Articles from the Special Issue on Imaging Stress; Edited by Michael R Bruchas and Alan Simmons

                trauma,stress,affect,emotional numbing,imaging,reward
                trauma, stress, affect, emotional numbing, imaging, reward

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