Brain circuits involved in emotional learning in antisocial behavior and social phobia in humans

Ralf Veit, Herta Flor, Michael Erb, Christiane Hermann, Martin Lotze, Wolfgang Grodd, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While psychopaths (PP) lack anticipatory fear, social phobics (SP) are characterized by excessive fear. Criminal PP, SP and healthy controls (HC) participated in differential aversive delay conditioning with neutral faces as conditioned (CS) and painful pressure as unconditioned stimuli. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed differential activation in the limbic-prefrontal circuit (orbitofrontal cortex, insula, anterior cingulate, amygdala) in the HC. By contrast, the PP displayed brief amygdala, but no further brain activation. The SP showed increased activity to the faces in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex already during habituation. Thus, a hypoactive frontolimbic circuit may represent the neural correlate of psychopathic behavior, whereas an overactive frontolimbic system may underly social fear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-236
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume328
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 16 2002

Keywords

  • Emotional learning
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pavlovian conditioning
  • Psychopathy
  • Skin conductance
  • Social phobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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