Neural and psychophysiological markers of intolerance of uncertainty

J. Morriss*, R. Abend, O. Zika, D.E. Bradford, G. Mertens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
61 Downloads (Pure)


Fear of the unknown is considered a primary, fundamental fear (Carleton, 2016a, Carleton, 2016b; Papenfuss and Ostafin, 2021). In research settings, the fear of the unknown is commonly captured using the self-reported Intolerance of Uncertainty Scale (Carleton et al., 2007; Freeston et al., 1994), which measures the tendency to interpret and react to uncertainty negatively. Importantly, recent research has demonstrated that high levels of self-reported intolerance of uncertainty exist across many emotional disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, stress and trauma, and obsessive-compulsive disorders) (McEvoy et al., 2019). Moreover, emerging research demonstrates that high levels of self-reported intolerance of uncertainty can be reduced to some extent through short-term interventions in the general population (Dunsmoor et al., 2015; Li et al., 2021; Morriss et al., 2020; Oglesby et al., 2017; Wake et al., 2021), and longer-term transdiagnostic (Sperling, 2022; Talkovsky and Norton, 2016), general (McEvoy and Erceg-Hurn, 2016; Palitz et al., 2019), and intolerance of uncertainty-specific (Dugas et al., 2022; Hebert and Dugas, 2019; Mofrad et al., 2020) standardised treatment protocols (e.g., cognitive behavioural therapy) in clinical populations. Given this progress, there is an increasing need for research examining the neural and psychophysiological basis of intolerance of uncertainty (Morriss et al., 2021; Tanovic et al., 2018), in order to enhance our mechanistic understanding of how intolerance of uncertainty modulates key processes relevant to the pathogenesis and treatment of emotional disorders (Einstein, 2014; Grupe and Nitschke, 2013; Hong and Cheung, 2015; Paulus et al., 2015; Shihata et al., 2016).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-99
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Anticipation
  • Anxiety
  • Disorders
  • Domain criteria rdoc
  • Extinction
  • Fear
  • Impact
  • Reactivity
  • Therapy
  • Threat


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