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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016 Jan;11(1):78-88. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsv087. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

Neural correlates of masked and unmasked face emotion processing in youth with severe mood dysregulation.

Author information

1
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA and wan-ling.tseng@nih.gov.
2
War Related Illness and Injury Study Center, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.
3
Emotion and Development Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA and.

Abstract

Reproducibility of results is important in improving the robustness of conclusions drawn from research, particularly in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In this study, we aim to replicate a previous study on the neural correlates of face emotion processing above and below awareness level using an independent sample of youth with severe mood dysregulation (SMD) and healthy volunteers (HV). We collected fMRI data in 17 SMD and 20 HV, using an affective priming paradigm with masked (17 ms) and unmasked (187 ms) faces (angry, happy, neutral, blank oval). When processing masked and unmasked angry faces, SMD patients exhibited increased activation in the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) and superior temporal gyrus relative to HV. When processing masked and unmasked happy faces, SMD patients showed decreased activation in the insula, PHG and thalamus compared with HV. During masked face processing in general across emotions, youth with SMD showed greater ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) activation relative to HV. Perturbed activation in emotion processing areas (e.g. insula, PHG, superior temporal gyrus and thalamus) manifests as hyper-sensitivity toward negative emotions and hypo-sensitivity toward positive emotions may be important in the etiology and maintenance of irritability, aggression and depressive symptoms in SMD. vmPFC dysfunction may mediate over-reactivity to face emotions associated with irritability.

TRIAL REGISTRATION:

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00025935.

KEYWORDS:

backward masking; face emotion processing; functional neuroimaging; irritability; severe mood dysregulation

PMID:
26137973
PMCID:
PMC4692312
DOI:
10.1093/scan/nsv087
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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