Neural substrates of affective face recognition in alexithymia: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study

Byeong Taek Lee, Hwa Young Lee, Sae Ah Park, Jin Young Lim, Woo Suk Tae, Min Soo Lee, Sook Haeng Joe, In Kwa Jung, Byung Joo Ham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Alexithymia is a condition characterized by deficits in cognitive processing and the regulation of emotions. Several theories have been proposed for the underlying neurobiology, but the etiology of alexithymia remains unclear. Methods: Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated brain activation measured on the scale of alexithymia in 38 individuals who were presented with neutral, sad, or angry affective facial stimuli. Results: We found significant inverse correlations between the degree of alexithymia represented by the Korean version of the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20K) and the intensity of the neural response to angry facial stimuli over neutral facial stimuli in the right caudate. This result was mainly due to the activations in factor 2 (difficulty describing feelings) in TAS-20K scale. Conclusions: The results suggest that functional impairments in the caudate of the fronto-striatal circuitry may play important roles in the pathophysiology of alexithymia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
JournalNeuropsychobiology
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan

Keywords

  • Alexithymia
  • Facial stimuli
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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    Lee, B. T., Lee, H. Y., Park, S. A., Lim, J. Y., Tae, W. S., Lee, M. S., Joe, S. H., Jung, I. K., & Ham, B. J. (2011). Neural substrates of affective face recognition in alexithymia: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Neuropsychobiology, 63(2), 119-124. https://doi.org/10.1159/000318086