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Psychiatry Res. 2009 Sep 30;173(3):248-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2008.06.004. Epub 2009 Jul 22.

Neural circuitry of submissive behavior in social anxiety disorder: A preliminary study of response to direct eye gaze.

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  • 1Anxiety Disorders Clinic, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 69, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Fear of eye gaze is common in social anxiety disorder (SAD) and may represent an evolutionarily conserved submissive behavior. SAD subjects and healthy volunteers who underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging showed significant differences in neural activity in amygdala, fusiform, insula, anterior cingulate and prefrontal cortex in response to direct versus averted gaze. Neural response to direct gaze may identify brain regions important in the pathophysiology of SAD.

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