Electrocortical activity associated with movement-related fear: a methodological exploration of a threat-conditioning paradigm involving destabilising perturbations during quiet standing

Adam Grinberg, Andrew Strong, Johan Strandberg, Jonas Selling, Dario G. Liebermann, Martin Björklund, Charlotte K. Häger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Musculoskeletal trauma often leads to lasting psychological impacts stemming from concerns of future injuries. Often referred to as kinesiophobia or re-injury anxiety, such concerns have been shown to hinder return to physical activity and are believed to increase the risk for secondary injuries. Screening for re-injury anxiety is currently restricted to subjective questionnaires, which are prone to self-report bias. We introduce a novel approach to objectively identify electrocortical activity associated with the threat of destabilising perturbations. We aimed to explore its feasibility among non-injured persons, with potential future implementation for screening of re-injury anxiety. Twenty-three participants stood blindfolded on a translational balance perturbation platform. Consecutive auditory stimuli were provided as low (neutral stimulus [CS]) or high (conditioned stimulus [CS+]) tones. For the main experimental protocol (Protocol I), half of the high tones were followed by a perturbation in one of eight unpredictable directions. A separate validation protocol (Protocol II) requiring voluntary squatting without perturbations was performed with 12 participants. Event-related potentials (ERP) were computed from electroencephalography recordings and significant time-domain components were detected using an interval-wise testing procedure. High-amplitude early contingent negative variation (CNV) waves were significantly greater for CS+ compared with CS trials in all channels for Protocol I (> 521-800ms), most prominently over frontal and central midline locations (P ≤ 0.001). For Protocol II, shorter frontal ERP components were observed (541-609ms). Our test paradigm revealed electrocortical activation possibly associated with movement-related fear. Exploring the discriminative validity of the paradigm among individuals with and without self-reported re-injury anxiety is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Brain Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • CNV
  • EEG
  • ERP
  • Kinesiophobia
  • Moving platform
  • Re-injury anxiety

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience

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