Cerebellar Structural Variations in Subjects with Different Hypnotizability

E Picerni, E L Santarcangelo, D Laricchiuta, D Cutuli, L Petrosini, G Spalletta, F Piras

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Hypnotizability-the proneness to accept suggestions and behave accordingly-has a number of physiological and behavioral correlates (postural, visuomotor, and pain control) which suggest a possible involvement of cerebellar function and/or structure. The present study was aimed at investigating the association between cerebellar macro- or micro-structural variations (analyzed through a voxel-based morphometry and a diffusion tensor imaging approach) and hypnotic susceptibility. We also estimated morphometric variations of cerebral gray matter structures, to support current evidence of hypnotizability-related differences in some cerebral areas. High (highs, N = 12), and low (lows, N = 37) hypnotizable healthy participants (according to the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, form A) were submitted to a high field (3 T) magnetic resonance imaging protocol. In comparison to lows, highs showed smaller gray matter volumes in left cerebellar lobules IV/V and VI at uncorrected level, with the results in left lobule IV/V maintained also at corrected level. Highs showed also gray matter volumes smaller than lows in right inferior temporal gyrus, middle and superior orbitofrontal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, and supramarginal parietal gyrus, as well as in left gyrus rectus, insula, and middle temporal cortex at uncorrected level. Results of right inferior temporal gyrus survived also at corrected level. Analyses on micro-structural data failed to reveal any significant association. The here found morphological variations allow to extend the traditional cortico-centric view of hypnotizability to the cerebellar regions, suggesting that cerebellar peculiarities may sustain hypnotizability-related differences in sensorimotor integration and emotional control.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jul 18 2018


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