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Biol Psychiatry. 2005 Jan 1;57(1):7-15.

Abnormal neural responses to emotional visual stimuli in adolescents with conduct disorder.

Author information

  • 1Departments of Neurology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. p.sterzer@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is widely held that aggression and antisocial behavior arise as a consequence of a deficiency in responding to emotional cues in the social environment. We asked whether neural responses evoked by affect-laden pictures would be abnormal in adolescents with conduct disorder (CD).

METHODS:

Functional magnetic resonance imaging during passive viewing of pictures with neutral or strong negative affective valence was performed in 13 male adolescents with severe CD aged 9 to 15 years and in 14 healthy age-matched control subjects.

RESULTS:

Main effects for negative-neutral affective valence included activations in the amygdala and hippocampus, ventral extrastriate visual cortex, and intraparietal sulcus bilaterally. There was a significant group-by-condition interaction in the right dorsal anterior cingulate cortex that was due to a pronounced deactivation in the patient group during viewing of negative pictures. When correcting for anxiety and depressive symptoms, we additionally found a reduced responsiveness of the left amygdala to negative pictures in patients compared with control subjects.

CONCLUSIONS:

We suggest that these findings reflect an impairment of both the recognition of emotional stimuli and the cognitive control of emotional behavior in patients with CD, resulting in a propensity for aggressive behavior.

PMID:
15607294
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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