Threat detection, precautionary responses, and anxiety disorders

Dan J. Stein, Randolph M. Nesse

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

26 Scopus citations


Study of the anxiety disorders may be a particularly useful vehicle for demonstrating how foundational sciences (e.g. cognitive-affective neuroscience, evolutionary psychology) can advance psychiatric theory and research. Here we consider important potential advances and remaining future challenges when basic research on threat detection and precautionary responses is used to address the anxiety disorders. We emphasize the potential value of a model of threat detection and precautionary responses that integrates cognitive-affective neuroscience and evolutionary approaches for understanding the anxiety disorders. However, we also suggest that substantial additional work is needed in order to link systematically the psychobiological mechanisms posited by basic work on threat detection and precautionary responses to the complex phenomena seen in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1079
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011



  • Anxiety
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Precautionary responses
  • Threat detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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