Relationship between trait anxiety, prefrontal cortex, and attention bias to angry faces in children and adolescents

Eva H. Telzer, Karin Mogg, Brendan P. Bradley, Xiaoqin Mai, Monique Ernst, Daniel S. Pine, Christopher S. Monk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with a visual-probe task that assesses attention to threat, we investigated the cognitive and neurophysiological correlates of trait anxiety in youth. During fMRI acquisition, 16 healthy children and adolescents viewed angry-neutral face pairs and responded to a probe that was on the same (angry-congruent) or opposite (angry-incongruent) side as the angry face. Attention bias scores were calculated by subtracting participants' mean reaction time for angry-congruent trials from angry-incongruent trials. Trait anxiety was positively associated with attention bias towards angry faces. Neurophysiologically, trait anxiety was positively associated with right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation on a contrast of trials that reflect the attention bias for angry faces (i.e. angry-incongruent versus angry-congruent trials). Trait anxiety was also positively associated with right ventrolateral PFC activation on trials with face stimuli (vesus baseline), irrespective of their emotional content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Functional MRI
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Trait anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Relationship between trait anxiety, prefrontal cortex, and attention bias to angry faces in children and adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this