ABSTRACT: Social groups aid human beings in several ways, ranging from the fulfillment of complex social and personal needs to the promotion of survival. Despite the importance of group affiliation to humans, there remains considerable variation in group preferences across development. In the current study, children and adolescents completed an explicit evaluation task of in-group and out-group members during functional neuroimaging. We found that participants displayed age-related increases in bilateral amygdala, fusiform gyrus and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) activation when viewing in-group relative to out-group faces. Moreover, we found an indirect effect of age on in-group favoritism via brain activation in the amygdala, fusiform and OFC. Finally, with age, youth showed greater functional coupling between the amygdala and several neural regions when viewing in-group relative to out-group peers, suggesting a role of the amygdala in directing attention to motivationally relevant cues. Our findings suggest that the motivational significance and processing of group membership undergoes important changes across development.
Project description:Overconsumption of high-calorie or unhealthy foods commonly leads to weight gain. Understanding people's neural responses to high-calorie food cues might help to develop better interventions for preventing or reducing overeating and weight gain. In this review, we conducted a coordinate-based meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of viewing high-calorie food cues in both normal-weight people and people with obesity. Electronic databases were searched for relevant articles, retrieving 59 eligible studies containing 2410 unique participants. The results of an activation likelihood estimation indicate large clusters in a range of structures, including the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), amygdala, insula/frontal operculum, culmen, as well as the middle occipital gyrus, lingual gyrus, and fusiform gyrus. Conjunction analysis suggested that both normal-weight people and people with obesity activated OFC, supporting that the two groups share common neural substrates of reward processing when viewing high-calorie food cues. The contrast analyses did not show significant activations when comparing obesity with normal-weight. Together, these results provide new important evidence for the neural mechanism underlying high-calorie food cues processing, and new insights into common and distinct brain activations of viewing high-calorie food cues between people with obesity and normal-weight people.
Project description:Amygdala-orbitofrontal cortical (OFC) functional connectivity (FC) to emotional stimuli and relationships with white matter remain little examined in bipolar disorder individuals (BD).Thirty-one BD (type I; n = 17 remitted; n = 14 depressed) and 24 age- and gender-ratio-matched healthy individuals (HC) viewed neutral, mild, and intense happy or sad emotional faces in two experiments. The FC was computed as linear and nonlinear dependence measures between amygdala and OFC time series. Effects of group, laterality, and emotion intensity upon amygdala-OFC FC and amygdala-OFC FC white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) relationships were examined.The BD versus HC showed significantly greater right amygdala-OFC FC (p < or = .001) in the sad experiment and significantly reduced bilateral amygdala-OFC FC (p = .007) in the happy experiment. Depressed but not remitted female BD versus female HC showed significantly greater left amygdala-OFC FC (p = .001) to all faces in the sad experiment and reduced bilateral amygdala-OFC FC to intense happy faces (p = .01). There was a significant nonlinear relationship (p = .001) between left amygdala-OFC FC to sad faces and FA in HC. In BD, antidepressants were associated with significantly reduced left amygdala-OFC FC to mild sad faces (p = .001).In BD, abnormally elevated right amygdala-OFC FC to sad stimuli might represent a trait vulnerability for depression, whereas abnormally elevated left amygdala-OFC FC to sad stimuli and abnormally reduced amygdala-OFC FC to intense happy stimuli might represent a depression state marker. Abnormal FC measures might normalize with antidepressant medications in BD. Nonlinear amygdala-OFC FC-FA relationships in BD and HC require further study.
Project description:Testosterone has been linked to alterations in the activity of emotion neurocircuitry including amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and insula and diminished functional amygdala/prefrontal coupling. Such associations have only ever been studied using acute measures of testosterone, thus little is known about respective relationships with long-term testosterone secretion. Here, we examine associations between hair testosterone concentration (HTC), an index of long-term cumulative testosterone levels and neural reactivity during an emotional passive viewing task using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Forty-six men viewed negative, positive and neutral pictures in the MRI. HTCs were assessed from 2 cm hair segments. The emotional paradigm elicited neural activation in the amygdala, insula and OFC. HTCs were associated with increased reactivity to negative pictures in the insula and increased reactivity to positive pictures in the OFC. We show an association of long-term testosterone levels with increased emotional reactivity in the brain. These results suggest a heightened emotional vigilance in individuals with high trait testosterone levels.
Project description:Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a 1.6 Mb microdeletion on chromosome 7q11.23 and characterized by hypersocial personality and prominent visuospatial construction impairments. Previous WS studies have identified functional and structural abnormalities in the hippocampal formation, prefrontal regions crucial for amygdala regulation and social cognition, and the dorsal visual stream, notably the intraparietal sulcus (IPS). Although aberrant ventral stream activation has not been found in WS, object-related visual information that is processed in the ventral stream is a critical source of input into these abnormal regions. The present study, therefore, examined neural interactions of ventral stream areas in WS. Using a passive face- and house-viewing paradigm, activation and functional connectivity of stimulus-selective regions in fusiform and parahippocampal gyri, respectively, were investigated. During house viewing, significant activation differences were observed between participants with WS and a matched control group in IPS. Abnormal functional connectivity was found between parahippocampal gyrus and parietal cortex and between fusiform gyrus and a network of brain regions including amygdala and portions of prefrontal cortex. These results indicate that abnormal upstream visual object processing may contribute to the complex cognitive/behavioral phenotype in WS and provide a systems-level characterization of genetically mediated abnormalities of neural interactions.
Project description:Under stress, men tend to withdraw socially whereas women seek social support. This functional magnetic resonance imaging study indicates that stress also affects brain activity while viewing emotional faces differently for men and women. Fusiform face area response to faces was diminished by acute stress in men but increased by stress in women. Furthermore, among stressed men viewing angry faces, brain regions involved in interpreting and understanding others' emotions (the insula, temporal pole, and inferior frontal gyrus) showed reduced coordination with the fusiform face area and the amygdala, whereas the functional connectivity among these regions increased with stress for women. These findings suggest that stress influences emotional perception differently for men and women.
Project description:Prior developmental functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have demonstrated elevated activation patterns in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex (PFC) in response to viewing emotional faces. As adolescence is a time of substantial variability in mood and emotional responsiveness, the stability of activation patterns could be fluctuating over time. In the current study, 27 healthy adolescents (age: 12-19 years) were scanned three times over a period of six months (mean test-retest interval of three months; final samples N=27, N=22, N=18). At each session, participants performed the same emotional faces task. At first measurement the presentation of emotional faces resulted in heightened activation in bilateral amygdala, bilateral lateral PFC and visual areas including the fusiform face area. Average activation did not differ across test-sessions over time, indicating that at the group level activation patterns in this network do not vary significantly over time. However, using the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC), fMRI reliability demonstrated only fair reliability for PFC (ICC=0.41-0.59) and poor reliability for the amygdala (ICC<0.4). These findings suggest substantial variability of brain activity over time and may have implications for studies investigating the influence of treatment effects on changes in neural levels in adolescents with psychiatric disorders.
Project description:The ability to actively locate potential threats in our environment is highly adaptive. To investigate mediating neural mechanisms, we designed a visual search task in which central cues signaled future location and emotional expression (angry or neutral) of a target face. Cues predicting angry targets accelerated subsequent attention shifts, indicating that endogenous signals predicting threatening events can prime the spatial attention network. Functional imaging showed that spatially informative cues activated the fusiform gyrus (FG) as well as frontoparietal components of the spatial attention network, including intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and frontal eye field (FEF), whereas cues predicting angry faces also activated limbic areas, including the amygdala. Anatomically overlapping, additive effects of spatial and emotional cuing were identified in the IPS, FEFs, and FG, regions that also displayed augmented connectivity with the amygdala after cues predicting angry faces. These data highlight a key role for the frontoparietal spatial attention network in the compilation of a salience map that combines the spatial coordinates of an event with its motivational relevance. Furthermore, they suggest that active search for a threatening stimulus elicits amygdala input to the spatial attention network and inferotemporal visual areas, facilitating the rapid detection of upcoming motivationally significant events.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Externalizing behavior has been attributed, in part, to decreased frontolimbic control over amygdala activation. However, little is known about developmental trajectories of frontoamygdalar functional connectivity and its relation to externalizing behavior. The present study addresses this gap by examining longitudinal associations between adolescent and adult externalizing behavior and amygdala-anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and amygdala-orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) resting-state functional connectivity in a sample of 111 typically developing participants aged 11-23 at baseline.<h4>Methods</h4>Participants completed two-to-four data waves spaced approximately two years apart, resulting in a total of 309 data points. At each data wave, externalizing behavior was measured using the Externalizing Behavior Broadband Scale from the Achenbach Youth/Adult Self-Report questionnaire. Resting-state fMRI preprocessing was performed using FSL. Amygdala functional connectivity was examined using AFNI. The longitudinal association between externalizing behavior and amygdala-ACC/OFC functional connectivity was examined using linear mixed effect models in R.<h4>Results</h4>Externalizing behavior was associated with increased amygdala-ACC and amygdala-OFC resting-state functional connectivity across adolescence and young adulthood. For amygdala-ACC connectivity, externalizing behavior at baseline primarily drove this association, whereas for amygdala-OFC functional connectivity, change in externalizing behavior relative to baseline drove the main effect of externalizing behavior on amygdala-OFC functional connectivity. No evidence was found for differential developmental trajectories of frontoamygdalar connectivity for different levels of externalizing behavior (i.e., age-by-externalizing behavior interaction effect).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Higher externalizing behavior is associated with increased resting-state attunement between the amygdala and ACC/OFC, perhaps indicating a generally more vigilant state for neural networks important for emotional processing and control.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Decreased amygdala-orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) neural functional connectivity (FC) positively predicts alcohol use among adolescents. Low amygdala-OFC FC is also associated with poor emotion regulation, a trait robustly linked to alcohol use. Thus, decreased amygdala-OFC connectivity may represent a risk factor for the development of alcohol use disorder (AUD) via impaired emotion regulation or reward processing. In this study, we examined amygdala-OFC FC among young adult binge drinkers at high risk for AUD. We also tested if amygdala-OFC FC mediates the relationship between externalizing personality traits and alcohol use. METHODS:Healthy male and female (n?=?39) binge drinkers completed a resting state fMRI scan and the Eysenck Impulsive Personality questionnaire. We utilized seed-based connectivity of the left and right amygdala to prefrontal regions as well as mediation analysis. RESULTS:Individuals with higher weekly alcohol use displayed decreased right amygdala-OFC FC. Furthermore, high trait venturesomeness, but not impulsivness, was associated with decreased right amygdala-OFC FC. Finally, right amygdala-OFC FC mediated the relationship between trait venturesomeness and weekly drinking; individuals with high trait venturesomeness displayed decreased right amygdala-OFC FC, which in turn predicted greater weekly drinking. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings corroborate and extend the adolescent literature by showing that decreased amygdala-OFC FC is associated with higher alcohol consumption among adults at elevated risk for AUD. This study also demonstrates for the first time that this neural profile reflects a tendency to sensation seeking. In sum, our findings suggest that amygdala-OFC FC may be an objective neural target for alcohol use prevention and intervention.
Project description:Despite the importance of face processing for normal social development, no functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of face processing in autism have focused exclusively on the childhood years. To fill this gap, 45 children aged 6-12 participated in practice scans. After exclusion due to motion, 11 children with an ASD and 11 age-matched normal control subjects were included in final analyses.Stimuli consisted of pictures of a familiar adult, familiar child, stranger adult, stranger child, and objects. During the scan, children pressed a button in response to an identical face shown on two consecutive trials. On the basis of our prior research, masks of four anatomic regions of interest (ROIs) including the fusiform gyrus, amygdala, and anterior and posterior cingulate were created for each subject and manually edited for anatomic precision. Following deconvolution analyses, the number of voxels significantly active and percent signal change values that fell within each ROI mask were calculated for each subject.Analyses revealed normal fusiform activity in children with autism when viewing a face of their mother or other children. In contrast, looking at stranger adult faces initiated profound deficits in that the mean number of significantly active voxels in the fusiform bilaterally was approximately 25% of that shown in typically developing children.A selective fusiform deficit in response only to the faces of adult strangers may be the result of reduced attention and interest during those conditions. Face processing abnormalities found in autism beyond the fusiform likely exist.