Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 1379–1390 | Cite as

Neural correlates of aversive anticipation: An activation likelihood estimate meta-analysis across multiple sensory modalities

  • Jeremy A. Andrzejewski
  • Tsafrir Greenberg
  • Joshua M. CarlsonEmail author


Anticipation is a universal preparatory response essential to the survival of an organism. Although meta-analytic synthesis of the literature exists for the anticipation of reward, a neuroimaging-based meta-analysis of the neural mechanisms of aversive anticipation is lacking. To address this gap in the literature, we ran an activation likelihood estimate (ALE) meta-analysis of 63 fMRI studies of aversive anticipation across multiple sensory modalities. Results of the ALE meta-analysis provide evidence for a core circuit involved in aversive anticipation, including the anterior insula, anterior cingulate cortex, mid-cingulate cortex, amygdala, thalamus, and caudate nucleus among other regions. Direct comparison of aversive anticipation studies using tactile versus visual stimuli identified additional regions involved in sensory specific aversive anticipation across these sensory modalities. Results from complementary multi-study voxel-wise and NeuroSynth analyses generally provide converging evidence for a core circuit involved in aversive anticipation. The multi-study voxel-wise analyses also implicate a more widespread preparatory response across sensory, motor, and cognitive control regions during more prolonged periods of aversive anticipation. The potential roles of these structures in anticipatory processing as well as avenues for future research are discussed.


Aversive anticipation fMRI ALE meta-analysis Anxiety GingerALE 



The authors thank Justine Nelson, Natalie Strand, and Rourke Sylvain for their assistance with the GingerALE analysis.

Supplementary material

13415_2019_747_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.6 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1.57 MB) (138 kb)
ESM 2 (ZIP 137 kb)


References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the ALE meta-analysis. References marked with a double asterisk were included in both the ALE analysis and the Neurosynth analysis.

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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy A. Andrzejewski
    • 1
  • Tsafrir Greenberg
    • 2
  • Joshua M. Carlson
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceNorthern Michigan UniversityMarquetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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