Anxiety reduction through detachment: subjective, physiological, and neural effects

J Cogn Neurosci. 2005 Jun;17(6):874-83. doi: 10.1162/0898929054021184.


The ability to volitionally regulate emotions helps to adapt behavior to changing environmental demands and can alleviate subjective distress. We show that a cognitive strategy of detachment attenuates subjective and physiological measures of anticipatory anxiety for pain and reduces reactivity to receipt of pain itself. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we locate the potential site and source of this modulation of anticipatory anxiety in the medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate and anterolateral prefrontal cortex, respectively.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Denial, Psychological*
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pain / psychology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Volition / physiology