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Front Behav Neurosci. 2019 May 9;13:102. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00102. eCollection 2019.

Neuroticism Modulates the Functional Connectivity From Amygdala to Frontal Networks in Females When Avoiding Emotional Negative Pictures.

Deng Y1, Li S2,3, Zhou R4, Walter M5,6,7,8.

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Neuroscience and Intelligent Media Institute, Communication University of China, Beijing, China.
Key Laboratory of Brain Functional Genomics (MOE&STCSM), Shanghai Changning-ECNU Mental Health Center, School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Magnetic Resonance, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
Department of Psychology, School of Social and Behavior Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China.
Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Eberhard Karls University, Tübingen, Germany.
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany.
Department for Behavioral Neurology, Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg, Germany.
Clinical Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory (CANLAB), Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg, Germany.


Amygdala activity was previously found to correlate with neuroticism as an effect of valence, but so far few studies have focused on motivational context. The network subserving altered amygdala activity has not yet been investigated although some studies showed strong effective connections with prefrontal cortex (PFC). The goal of this study was to test the modulatory role of neuroticism on the functional connectivity (FC) between amygdala and other brain regions, especially PFC, during emotion processing from motivational direction. We applied an emotional picture viewing paradigm with different motivational directions (approaching and avoiding) in a large participant sample. The results showed that neuroticism predicted the amount of amygdala FC to dorsomedial PFC (dmPFC) and middle cingulate cortex (MCC). Increased FC during negative vs. positive pictures was found primarily in low neuroticism subjects, especially during the avoid condition. This valence and motivation dependent connectivity increase were disrupted for high neurotic participants. No effect of neuroticism was found for the approach condition. We showed that neuroticism, especially in the context of passive affect regulation, may have impaired connectivity between amygdala and putative regulatory cortical networks.


dorsomedial prefrontal cortex; functional connectivity; middle cingulate cortex; motivational direction; neuroticism

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