A number of separate studies have demonstrated an association between 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms and attentional bias to emotional information, amygdala response to attended threatening stimuli and trait anxiety. This has led to suggestions that threat bias and amygdala activation may be important endophenotypes in the anxiety disorders as they are putative intermediaries between serotonergic genotype and psychopathology. We are currently investigating this further by using an fMRI study to determine how the amygdala response to unattended fearful faces is associated with 5-HTT polymorphisms.
There is some uncertainty about the degree to which the amygdala automatically processes unattended faces; valence, perceptual load and location have all been implicated as being moderating factors. In this fMRI study we are manipulating unattended facial valence and position as well as attentional load in an attended task to determine the extent to which […]
How does emotional control develop during the adolescent years? How does the brain process and regulate emotional responses (both in adolescence and in adulthood). Is neural processing while performing specific emotional skills related to individual differences in behavioural traits such as aggression, psychopathy and anxiety? What are the implications for mental health? We combine cognitive […]
Individual differences in empathy associated with default mode network intrinsic connectivity variability
There is a remarkable overlap between the brain networks associated with empathy and spatial foci of the default mode network (DMN). In our current study we are examining whether individual differences in the core components of empathy are related to default mode network resting state functional connectivity (DMN RS FC).
Our work has used functional MRI in humans to investigate the prefrontal and basal ganglia mechanisms that support decision-making, reward processing, reinforcement learning, and action. These approaches have recently been used to study the neural basis of social cognition. Most recently, work has focussed on the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). We report that parts of […]