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

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19 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 1

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Keywords

  • Alexithymia
  • Facial stimuli
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

Cite this

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