JOURNAL ARTICLE

Increased amygdala activation to angry and contemptuous faces in generalized social phobia

Murray B Stein, Philippe R Goldin, Jitender Sareen, Lisa T Eyler Zorrilla, Gregory G Brown
Archives of General Psychiatry 2002, 59 (11): 1027-34
12418936

BACKGROUND: Generalized social phobia (GSP) is characterized by fear of social interactions and sensitivity to disapproval by others. Given the established role of the amygdala as part of a distributed neural system for the processing of emotional cues, we hypothesized that subjects with GSP would exhibit greater amygdala activation in response to harsh (angry, fearful, and contemptous) vs accepting (happy) facial emotional expressions compared with healthy control subjects (HCs).

METHODS: Fifteen subjects with DSM-IV GSP and 15 age-, sex-, handedness-, and education-matched HCs, free of psychotropic medication for at least 12 weeks, viewed 60 color photographs from a standardized set of human facial stimuli, during which the task was to identify the sex of the person in the photograph. Data were collected across 3 functional (echo-planar) runs using a Siemens 1.5-T magnet, and analyzed using Analysis of Functional Neuroimaging software (Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee).

RESULTS: In the left allocortex (including the amygdala, uncus, and parahippocampal gyrus), subjects with GSP produced a significantly greater percent blood oxygen level-dependent signal change than did HCs for contemptous compared with happy faces (GSP: 0.72% vs HC: -0.01%; F(1,29) = 9.56, P =.004, Cohen d = 1.15) and for angry compared with happy faces (GSP: 0.45% vs HC: -0.09%; F(1,29) = 6.78, P =.02, Cohen d = 1.00). Subjects with GSP and HCs did not produce a statistically different percent signal change for fearful or nonexpressive faces compared with the happy faces in this region.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with a role for differential amygdala (and associated limbic) functioning in GSP. The pronounced response to contemptuous and angry facial expressions suggests that the amygdala in GSP may be particularly active in the processing of disorder-salient stimuli.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
12418936
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"