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<p>Worry is a cognitive characteristic of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Decoupling of executive control (ECN) and default mode networks (DMN) has been observed in individuals with GAD (Xu et al., 2019) and proposed as a mechanism contributing to impaired cognitive control (Sylvester et al., 2012). Abnormal connectivity between ECN and DMN may support cognitive dysfunction in trait worry (Berggren & Derakshan, 2013). Using fMRI data, the present study will evaluate a top-down mechanism wherein trait worry predicts functional connectivity between ECN and DMN such that worriers exhibit decreased ECN-DMN connectivity, which in turn predicts executive dysfunction assessed via performance in a cognitive control task. Decoupling of ECN and DMN is hypothesized to predict worse performance (longer reaction times) on the color-word Stroop task, reflecting dysfunction in this mechanism of inhibitory control. Characterization of these functional networks and their role in worry-related dysfunction will bridge gaps in our understanding of worry and associated disorders to inform targeted interventions that work upon this neural mechanism to treat anxiety.</p>
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