Topic: Approach and Avoidance in the Context of Mood Disorders

Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Todd (Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychology and Centre for Brain Health, Canada)

Time: 2024/06/18 (Tue) 10:30-12:00

Location: 502&503 Meeting room, Research and Teaching Building, SH Campus, Taipei Medical University


Depression and anxiety have been associated with reduced reward seeking and increased avoidance behaviours respectively. Avoidance and reward seeking behaviours have, in turn, been associated with prepotent responses to withdraw or approach, which have been well-characterized in rodent models. Acting to avoid an unpleasant consequence and inhibiting a response in order to gain a reward both require overriding such a prepotent response. Yet whether symptoms of depression or anxiety can be specifically linked to active vs inhibitory avoidance/reward seeking – in particular when it is necessary to override a prepotent “Pavlovian” response — is not known. Here I discuss findings from a collaborative translational research program examining the role played by specific patterns of approach and avoidance in predicting levels of depression and anxiety in a community sample, characterizing high vs. low anxiety subtypes of depression, and discriminating major depressive disorder from bipolar spectrum disorder. I further describe a human brain imaging project that builds on rodent research to characterize underlying circuitry of active and inhibitory avoidance and reward-seeking.