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Psychiatry Res. 1999 Jul 30;91(1):1-10.

Neural activation during sexual and competitive arousal in healthy men.

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Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown 02129, USA.


To investigate the mediating neuroanatomy of positively valenced arousal, we used script-driven imagery in conjunction with positron emission tomography to measure relative regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during sexual and competitive arousal, as well as neutral comparison states. Subjects were eight healthy right-handed men. Psychophysiologic responses and subjective ratings confirmed that the desired state manipulations were achieved. Statistical parametric mapping revealed similar patterns of rCBF changes for both positively valenced arousal conditions: increases were found within anterior cingulate and anterior temporal cortex as well as the ventral globus pallidus; decreases were found within widespread heteromodal association areas. These results complement findings from studies of other normal and pathological emotional states, and provide new insights regarding the neural substrates of pleasurable arousal in healthy men.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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