ARNSTEN, A.F.T., M.K.P. Joyce and A.C. Roberts. The Aversive Lens: Stress effects on the prefrontal-cingulate cortical pathways that regulate emotion. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV XXX-XXX, 2022. The symptoms of major-depressive-disorder include psychic pain and anhedonia, i.e. seeing the world through an "aversive lens". The neurobiology underlying this shift in worldview is emerging. Here these data are reviewed, focusing on how activation of subgenual cingulate (BA25) induces an "aversive lens", and how higher prefrontal cortical (PFC) areas (BA46/10/32) provide top-down regulation of BA25 but are weakened by excessive dopamine and norepinephrine release during stress exposure, and dendritic spine loss with chronic stress exposure. These changes may generate an attractor state, which maintains the brain under the control of BA25, requiring medication or neuromodulatory treatments to return connectivity to a more flexible state. In line with this hypothesis, effective anti-depressant treatments reduce the activity of BA25 and restore top-down regulation by higher circuits, e.g. as seen with SSRI medications, ketamine, deep brain stimulation of BA25, or rTMS to strengthen dorsolateral PFC. This research has special relevance in an era of chronic stress caused by the COVID19 pandemic, political unrest and threat of climate change.