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Psychoneurometric operationalization of threat sensitivity

Title: Psychoneurometric operationalization of threat sensitivity: Relations with clinical symptom and physiological response criteria.
Name(s): Yancey, James R, author
Venables, Noah C, author
Patrick, Christopher J, author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Journal Article
Date Issued: 2016-03-01
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The National Institute of Mental Health's Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) initiative calls for the incorporation of neurobiological approaches and findings into conceptions of mental health problems through a focus on biobehavioral constructs investigated across multiple domains of measurement (units of analysis). Although the constructs in the RDoC system are characterized in "process terms" (i.e., as functional concepts with brain and behavioral referents), these constructs can also be framed as dispositions (i.e., as dimensions of variation in biobehavioral functioning across individuals). Focusing on one key RDoC construct, acute threat or "fear," the current article illustrates a construct-oriented psychoneurometric strategy for operationalizing this construct in individual difference terms-as threat sensitivity (THT+). Utilizing data from 454 adult participants, we demonstrate empirically that (a) a scale measure of THT+ designed to tap general fear/fearlessness predicts effectively to relevant clinical problems (i.e., fear disorder symptoms), (b) this scale measure shows reliable associations with physiological indices of acute reactivity to aversive visual stimuli, and (c) a cross-domain factor reflecting the intersection of scale and physiological indicators of THT+ predicts effectively to both clinical and neurophysiological criterion measures. Results illustrate how the psychoneurometric approach can be used to create a dimensional index of a biobehavioral trait construct, in this case THT+, which can serve as a bridge between phenomena in domains of psychopathology and neurobiology. Implications and future directions are discussed with reference to the RDoC initiative and existing report-based conceptions of psychological traits.
Identifier: FSU_pmch_26877132 (IID), 10.1111/psyp.12512 (DOI), PMC4756387 (PMCID), 26877132 (RID), 26877132 (EID)
Keywords: Individual differences, Other, Psychopathology
Grant Number: P50 MH072850, RC1 MH089727, MH072850, MH089727
Publication Note: This NIH-funded author manuscript originally appeared in PubMed Central at
Subject(s): Adult
Cerebral Cortex/physiology
Heart Rate
National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
Neuropsychological Tests
Phobic Disorders/diagnosis
Phobic Disorders/physiopathology
Reflex, Startle
United States
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Psychophysiology.
Issue: iss. 3, vol. 53

Choose the citation style.
Yancey, J. R., Venables, N. C., & Patrick, C. J. (2016). Psychoneurometric operationalization of threat sensitivity: Relations with clinical symptom and physiological response criteria. Psychophysiology. Retrieved from