Common and Distinct Brain Activation to Threat and Safety Signals in Social PhobiaStraube T. · Mentzel H.-J. · Miltner W.H.R.
aDepartment of Biological and Clinical Psychology and bInstitute of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany
Background: Little is known about the functional neuroanatomy underlying the processing of emotional stimuli in social phobia. Objectives: To investigate specific brain activation that is associated with the processing of threat and safety signals in social phobics. Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, brain activation was measured in social phobic and nonphobic subjects during the presentation of angry, happy and neutral facial expressions under free viewing conditions. Results: Compared to controls, phobics showed increased activation of extrastriate visual cortex regardless of facial expression. Angry, but not neutral or happy, faces elicited greater insula responses in phobics. In contrast, both angry and happy faces led to increased amygdala activation in phobics. Conclusions: The results support the hypothesis that the amygdala is involved in the processing of negative and positive stimuli. Furthermore, social phobics respond sensitively not only to threatening but also to accepting faces and common and distinct neural mechanisms appear to be associated with the processing of threat versus safety signals.
Thomas Straube, PhD
Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology
Friedrich Schiller University, Am Steiger 3/1
DE–07743 Jena (Germany)
Tel. +49 3641 9 45 154, Fax +49 3641 9 45 142, E-Mail email@example.com
Published online: August 31, 2005
Number of Print Pages : 6
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 1, Number of References : 30
Neuropsychobiology (International Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research in Biological Psychiatry, Pharmacopsychiatry, Biological Psychology/Pharmacopsychology and Pharmacoelectroencephalography)
Vol. 52, No. 3, Year 2005 (Cover Date: Released September 2005)
Journal Editor: Strik, W. (Bern)
ISSN: 0302–282X (Print), eISSN: 1423–0224 (Online)
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