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Blunted neural response to implicit negative facial affect in anorexia nervosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-111
JournalBiological Psychology
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Accepted/In press15 Jul 2017
E-pub ahead of print20 Jul 2017


King's Authors


Background: People with anorexia nervosa (AN) have difficulties in a wide range of social-emotional processes. Previous work suggests atypical involvement of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), amygdala, insula, and fusiform gyri during social-emotional processing in AN. 
Methods: Twenty women with AN and twenty healthy comparison (HC) women were presented with happy, fearful, and neutral faces during a functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Group differences were investigated in the following regions of interest: lateral PFC, amygdala, insula, and fusiform gyri. 
Results: The HC participants showed significantly increased recruitment of the ventrolateral PFC and amygdala in the fearful > neutral contrast relative to the AN participants. The AN participants showed a significantly increased recruitment of a small cluster in the right posterior insula in the happy > neutral contrast. 
Conclusions: These findings are in line with the hypothesis that people with AN have a blunted response to negative and atypical exaggerated response to positive emotionally provoking stimuli.

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