Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Jul 1;64(1):70-3. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.12.014. Epub 2008 Mar 4.

Overactivation of fear systems to neutral faces in schizophrenia.

Author information

  • 1Division of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. jhall5@staffmail.ed.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The amygdala plays a central role in detecting and responding to fear-related stimuli. A number of recent studies have reported decreased amygdala activation in schizophrenia to emotional stimuli (such as fearful faces) compared with matched neutral stimuli (such as neutral faces). We investigated whether the apparent decrease in amygdala activation in schizophrenia could actually derive from increased amygdala activation to the neutral comparator stimuli.

METHODS:

Nineteen patients with schizophrenia and 24 matched control participants viewed pictures of faces with either fearful or neutral facial expressions, and a baseline condition, during functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning.

RESULTS:

Patients with schizophrenia showed a relative decrease in amygdala activation to fearful faces compared with neutral faces. However, this difference resulted from an increase in amygdala activation to the neutral faces in patients with schizophrenia, not from a decreased response to the fearful faces.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with schizophrenia show an increased response of the amygdala to neutral faces. This is sufficient to explain their apparent deficit in amygdala activation to fearful faces compared with neutral faces. The inappropriate activation of neural systems involved in fear to otherwise neutral stimuli may contribute to the development of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia.

PMID:
18295746
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk