Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder

Monica Mazza, Daniela Tempesta, Maria Chiara Pino, Anna Nigri, Alessia Catalucci, Veronica Guadagni, Massimo Gallucci, Giuseppe Iaria, Michele Ferrara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study is to evaluate the empathic ability and its functional brain correlates in post-traumatic stress disorder subjects (PTSD). Seven PTSD subjects and ten healthy controls, all present in the L'Aquila area during the earthquake of the April 2009, underwent fMRI during which they performed a modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test. PTSD patients showed impairments in implicit and explicit emotional empathy, but not in cognitive empathy. Brain responses during cognitive empathy showed an increased activation in patients compared to controls in the right medial frontal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus. During implicit emotional empathy responses patients with PTSD, compared to controls, exhibited greater neural activity in the left pallidum and right insula; instead the control group showed an increased activation in right inferior frontal gyrus. Finally, in the explicit emotional empathy responses the PTSD group showed a reduced neural activity in the left insula and the left inferior frontal gyrus. The behavioral deficit limited to the emotional empathy dimension, accompanied by different patterns of activation in empathy related brain structures, represent a first piece of evidence of a dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in PTSD patients. The present findings support the idea that empathy is a multidimensional process, with different facets depending on distinct anatomical substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Volume282
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2015

Fingerprint

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
Prefrontal Cortex
Brain
Earthquakes
Eagles
Globus Pallidus
Aptitude
Healthy Volunteers
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Control Groups

Keywords

  • Cognitive empathy
  • Explicit emotional empathy
  • Implicit emotional empathy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Mazza, M., Tempesta, D., Pino, M. C., Nigri, A., Catalucci, A., Guadagni, V., ... Ferrara, M. (2015). Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder. Behavioural Brain Research, 282, 37-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.049

Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder. / Mazza, Monica; Tempesta, Daniela; Pino, Maria Chiara; Nigri, Anna; Catalucci, Alessia; Guadagni, Veronica; Gallucci, Massimo; Iaria, Giuseppe; Ferrara, Michele.

In: Behavioural Brain Research, Vol. 282, 01.04.2015, p. 37-45.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mazza, M, Tempesta, D, Pino, MC, Nigri, A, Catalucci, A, Guadagni, V, Gallucci, M, Iaria, G & Ferrara, M 2015, 'Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder', Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 282, pp. 37-45. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.049
Mazza, Monica ; Tempesta, Daniela ; Pino, Maria Chiara ; Nigri, Anna ; Catalucci, Alessia ; Guadagni, Veronica ; Gallucci, Massimo ; Iaria, Giuseppe ; Ferrara, Michele. / Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder. In: Behavioural Brain Research. 2015 ; Vol. 282. pp. 37-45.
@article{06da1ef04f0d4570b33f873fe084777c,
title = "Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder",
abstract = "The aim of this study is to evaluate the empathic ability and its functional brain correlates in post-traumatic stress disorder subjects (PTSD). Seven PTSD subjects and ten healthy controls, all present in the L'Aquila area during the earthquake of the April 2009, underwent fMRI during which they performed a modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test. PTSD patients showed impairments in implicit and explicit emotional empathy, but not in cognitive empathy. Brain responses during cognitive empathy showed an increased activation in patients compared to controls in the right medial frontal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus. During implicit emotional empathy responses patients with PTSD, compared to controls, exhibited greater neural activity in the left pallidum and right insula; instead the control group showed an increased activation in right inferior frontal gyrus. Finally, in the explicit emotional empathy responses the PTSD group showed a reduced neural activity in the left insula and the left inferior frontal gyrus. The behavioral deficit limited to the emotional empathy dimension, accompanied by different patterns of activation in empathy related brain structures, represent a first piece of evidence of a dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in PTSD patients. The present findings support the idea that empathy is a multidimensional process, with different facets depending on distinct anatomical substrates.",
keywords = "Cognitive empathy, Explicit emotional empathy, Implicit emotional empathy, Post-traumatic stress disorder",
author = "Monica Mazza and Daniela Tempesta and Pino, {Maria Chiara} and Anna Nigri and Alessia Catalucci and Veronica Guadagni and Massimo Gallucci and Giuseppe Iaria and Michele Ferrara",
year = "2015",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.049",
language = "English",
volume = "282",
pages = "37--45",
journal = "Behavioural Brain Research",
issn = "0166-4328",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Neural activity related to cognitive and emotional empathy in post-traumatic stress disorder

AU - Mazza, Monica

AU - Tempesta, Daniela

AU - Pino, Maria Chiara

AU - Nigri, Anna

AU - Catalucci, Alessia

AU - Guadagni, Veronica

AU - Gallucci, Massimo

AU - Iaria, Giuseppe

AU - Ferrara, Michele

PY - 2015/4/1

Y1 - 2015/4/1

N2 - The aim of this study is to evaluate the empathic ability and its functional brain correlates in post-traumatic stress disorder subjects (PTSD). Seven PTSD subjects and ten healthy controls, all present in the L'Aquila area during the earthquake of the April 2009, underwent fMRI during which they performed a modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test. PTSD patients showed impairments in implicit and explicit emotional empathy, but not in cognitive empathy. Brain responses during cognitive empathy showed an increased activation in patients compared to controls in the right medial frontal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus. During implicit emotional empathy responses patients with PTSD, compared to controls, exhibited greater neural activity in the left pallidum and right insula; instead the control group showed an increased activation in right inferior frontal gyrus. Finally, in the explicit emotional empathy responses the PTSD group showed a reduced neural activity in the left insula and the left inferior frontal gyrus. The behavioral deficit limited to the emotional empathy dimension, accompanied by different patterns of activation in empathy related brain structures, represent a first piece of evidence of a dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in PTSD patients. The present findings support the idea that empathy is a multidimensional process, with different facets depending on distinct anatomical substrates.

AB - The aim of this study is to evaluate the empathic ability and its functional brain correlates in post-traumatic stress disorder subjects (PTSD). Seven PTSD subjects and ten healthy controls, all present in the L'Aquila area during the earthquake of the April 2009, underwent fMRI during which they performed a modified version of the Multifaceted Empathy Test. PTSD patients showed impairments in implicit and explicit emotional empathy, but not in cognitive empathy. Brain responses during cognitive empathy showed an increased activation in patients compared to controls in the right medial frontal gyrus and the left inferior frontal gyrus. During implicit emotional empathy responses patients with PTSD, compared to controls, exhibited greater neural activity in the left pallidum and right insula; instead the control group showed an increased activation in right inferior frontal gyrus. Finally, in the explicit emotional empathy responses the PTSD group showed a reduced neural activity in the left insula and the left inferior frontal gyrus. The behavioral deficit limited to the emotional empathy dimension, accompanied by different patterns of activation in empathy related brain structures, represent a first piece of evidence of a dissociation between emotional and cognitive empathy in PTSD patients. The present findings support the idea that empathy is a multidimensional process, with different facets depending on distinct anatomical substrates.

KW - Cognitive empathy

KW - Explicit emotional empathy

KW - Implicit emotional empathy

KW - Post-traumatic stress disorder

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84921030167&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84921030167&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.049

DO - 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.049

M3 - Article

C2 - 25555525

AN - SCOPUS:84921030167

VL - 282

SP - 37

EP - 45

JO - Behavioural Brain Research

JF - Behavioural Brain Research

SN - 0166-4328

ER -