The tendency to approach or avoid novel people is a fundamental human behavior and is a core dimension of social anxiety. Resting state fMRI was used to test for an association between social inhibition and intrinsic connectivity in 40 young adults ranging from low to high in social inhibition. Higher levels of social inhibition were associated with specific patterns of reduced amygdala-cingulate cortex connectivity. Connectivity was reduced between the superficial amygdala and the rostral cingulate cortex and between the centromedial amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Social inhibition also modulated connectivity in several well-established intrinsic networks; higher social inhibition correlated with reduced connectivity with default mode and dorsal attention networks and enhanced connectivity in salience and executive control networks. These findings provide important preliminary evidence that social inhibition reflects differences in the underlying intrinsic connectivity of the brain in the absence of social stimuli or stressors.
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