The Biological Bridge Between Behavioral Inhibition and Psychopathology



In this chapter, we review the biological bridge between early childhood behavioral inhibition (BI) and psychopathology, with an emphasis on anxiety disorders. We contextualize the biology of behavioral inhibition and anxiety disorders within the physiology of the threat system. Behavioral inhibition is conceptualized as reflecting an early-appearing tendency to engage the threat system in the presence of both ambiguous and potentially threatening stimuli. The progression from behavioral inhibition to anxiety disorders is hypothesized to occur when brain-based regulatory systems mature in ways that amplify rather than lessen fear. Specific environmental factors that may influence the progression from behavioral inhibition to anxiety disorders are discussed. We complete this chapter by discussing areas for future work.


Behavioral inhibition Anxiety Functional magnetic resonance imaging Psychopathology Resting state connectivity Neural connectivity 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research ProgramBethesdaUSA

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