Topography of the Anxious Self: Abnormal Rest-Task Modulation in Social Anxiety Disorder

Lorenzo Lucherini Angeletti, Andrea Scalabrini, Valdo Ricca, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by social anxiety/fear, self-attention, and interoception. Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies demonstrate increased activity during symptom-sensitive tasks in regions of the default-mode network (DMN), amygdala (AMG), and salience network (SN). What is the source of this task-unspecific symptom-sensitive hyperactivity in DMN? We address this question by probing SAD resting state (rs) changes in DMN including their relation to other regions as possible source of task-unspecific hyperactivity in the same regions. Our findings show the following: (1) rs-hypoconnectivity within-DMN regions; (2) rs-hyperconnectivity between DMN and AMG/SN; (3) task-evoked hyperactivity in the abnormal rs-regions of DMN and AMG/SN during different symptom-sensitive tasks; (4) negative relationship of rest and task changes in especially anterior DMN regions as their rs-hypoconnectivity is accompanied by task-unspecific hyperactivity; (5) abnormal top-down/bottom-up modulation between anterior DMN regions and AMG during rest and task. Findings demonstrate that rs-hypoconnectivity among DMN regions is negatively related to task-unspecific hyperactivity in DMN and AMG/SN. We propose a model of “Topography of the Anxious Self” in SAD (TAS-SAD). Abnormal DMN-AMG/SN topography during rest, as trait feature of an “unstable social self”, is abnormally aggravated during SAD-sensitive situations resulting in task-related hyperactivity in the same regions with an “anxious self” as state feature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-244
Number of pages24
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • amygdala
  • anxious self
  • default-mode network
  • fMRI
  • rest-task interaction
  • resting state functional connectivity
  • salience network
  • social anxiety disorder
  • task-induced activity
  • unstable social self

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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