UNDERSTANDING THE CONTRIBUTION OF THE CENTRAL EXTENDED AMYGDALA TO DISPOSITIONAL NEGATIVITY
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Dispositional negativity (DN) is a key risk factor for a spectrum of adverse outcomes, including anxiety disorders, depression, and comorbid substance abuse. The central extended amygdala (EAc; an anatomical concept encompassing the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis [BST] and central nucleus of the amygdala [Ce]) is implicated in the development and maintenance of these disorders. However, disorders, like other psychological processes, reflect the coordinated actions of widely distributed networks. Yet, the functional architecture of the human EAc and its relation to individual differences in DN remains poorly understood. We investigated intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) of the EAc in 185 healthy adults. Whole-brain regression analyses revealed that the BST and Ce show iFC with one another via the sublenticular extended amygdala. While both regions showed significant iFC with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and with cingulate territories involved in adaptive control of anxiety-related behavior, the BST showed more robust coupling. Contrary to expectations, EAc iFC was not significantly associated with individual differences in DN. These observations provide a novel neurobiological framework for understanding a range of stress-sensitive disorders.