Format

Send to

Choose Destination
Neuroscience. 2015 Sep 10;303:462-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.06.062. Epub 2015 Jul 7.

Adult attachment style modulates neural responses in a mentalizing task.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Philipps University Marburg, Rudolf-Bultmann Street 8, 35039 Marburg, Germany. Electronic address: schneid5@staff.uni-marburg.de.
2
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Philipps University Marburg, Rudolf-Bultmann Street 8, 35039 Marburg, Germany.
3
Institute of Psychology, Social Psychology, Philipps University Marburg, Gutenberg Street 18, 35032 Marburg, Germany.

Abstract

Adult attachment style (AAS) is a personality trait that affects social cognition. Behavioral data suggest that AAS influences mentalizing proficiency, i.e. the ability to predict and explain people's behavior with reference to mental states, but the neural correlates are unknown. We here tested how the AAS dimensions "avoidance" (AV) and "anxiety" (ANX) modulate neural correlates of mentalizing. We measured brain activation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 164 healthy subjects during an interactive mentalizing paradigm (Prisoner's Dilemma Game). AAS was assessed with the Relationship Scales Questionnaire, including the subscales AV and ANX. Our task elicited a strong activation of the mentalizing network, including bilateral precuneus, (anterior, middle, and posterior) cingulate cortices, temporal poles, inferior frontal gyri (IFG), temporoparietal junctions, superior medial frontal gyri as well as right medial orbital frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus (MFG), and amygdala. We found that AV is positively and ANX negatively correlated with task-associated neural activity in the right amygdala, MFG, midcingulate cortex, and superior parietal lobule, and in bilateral IFG. These data suggest that avoidantly attached adults activate brain areas implicated in emotion regulation and cognitive control to a larger extent than anxiously attached individuals during mentalizing.

KEYWORDS:

attachment; fMRI; social cognition; theory-of-mind

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center