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Nat Commun. 2018 May 23;9(1):2043. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04387-2.

Trait paranoia shapes inter-subject synchrony in brain activity during an ambiguous social narrative.

Author information

1
Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892-9663, USA. emily.finn@nih.gov.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06511-6662, USA.
3
Scientific and Statistical Computing Core, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892-9663, USA.
4
Section on Functional Imaging Methods, Laboratory of Brain and Cognition, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892-9663, USA.
5
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06520-8042, USA.

Abstract

Individuals often interpret the same event in different ways. How do personality traits modulate brain activity evoked by a complex stimulus? Here we report results from a naturalistic paradigm designed to draw out both neural and behavioral variation along a specific dimension of interest, namely paranoia. Participants listen to a narrative during functional MRI describing an ambiguous social scenario, written such that some individuals would find it highly suspicious, while others less so. Using inter-subject correlation analysis, we identify several brain areas that are differentially synchronized during listening between participants with high and low trait-level paranoia, including theory-of-mind regions. Follow-up analyses indicate that these regions are more active to mentalizing events in high-paranoia individuals. Analyzing participants' speech as they freely recall the narrative reveals semantic and syntactic features that also scale with paranoia. Results indicate that a personality trait can act as an intrinsic "prime," yielding different neural and behavioral responses to the same stimulus across individuals.

PMID:
29795116
PMCID:
PMC5966466
DOI:
10.1038/s41467-018-04387-2
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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