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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Apr 30;192(1):12-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2010.11.005. Epub 2011 Mar 3.

The interacting role of media violence exposure and aggressive-disruptive behavior in adolescent brain activation during an emotional Stroop task.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, OH, USA.


Only recently have investigations of the relationship between media violence exposure (MVE) and aggressive behavior focused on brain functioning. In this study, we examined the relationship between brain activation and history of media violence exposure in adolescents, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Samples of adolescents with no psychiatric diagnosis or with disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) with aggression were compared to investigate whether the association of MVE history and brain activation is moderated by aggressive behavior/personality. Twenty-two adolescents with a history of aggressive behavior and diagnosis of either conduct disorder or oppositional-defiant disorder (DBD sample) and 22 controls completed an emotional Stroop task during fMRI. Primary imaging results indicated that controls with a history of low MVE demonstrated greater activity in the right inferior frontal gyrus and rostral anterior cingulate during the violent word condition. In contrast, in adolescents with DBD, those with high MVE exhibited decreased activation in the right amygdala, compared with those with low MVE. These findings are consistent with research demonstrating the importance of fronto-limbic structures for processing emotional stimuli, and with research suggesting that media violence may affect individuals in different ways depending on the presence of aggressive traits.

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