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Biol Psychol. 2007 May;75(2):124-30. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Diminished medial prefrontal cortex activity in blood-injection-injury phobia.

Author information

  • 1Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, University of Giessen, Otto-Behaghel-Str. 10 H, 35394 Giessen, Germany. Andrea.Hermann@psychol.uni-giessen.de


We examined the effects of symptom induction on neural activation in blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia. Nine phobic and 10 non-phobic subjects participated in an fMRI study in which they were presented with disorder-relevant, generally disgust-inducing, generally fear-evoking and neutral pictures. We observed diminished medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) activity in patients compared to controls for phobia-relevant and disgust-inducing pictures. The MPFC has been shown to be critically involved in the automatic and effortful cognitive regulation of emotions. Therefore, the results might reflect reduced cognitive control of emotions in BII phobics during the experience of phobic symptoms as well as during states of disgust. The latter response component might be a result of the elevated disgust sensitivity of BII phobics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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