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Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders (1)
Frontiers in Psychology (1)
PLoS ONE (1)
Straube, Thomas (3)
Mothes-Lasch, Martin (2)
Brucki, Sonia (1)
Lipka, Judith (1)
Miltner, Wolfgang H. R. (1)
Miltner, Wolfgang HR (1)
Nitsch, Alexander M. (1)
Peterburs, Jutta (1)
Sauer, Andreas (1)
Schulz, Claudia (1)
Year of Publication
Impaired Representation of Time in Schizophrenia Is Linked to Positive Symptoms and Cognitive Demand
Nitsch, Alexander M.
Miltner, Wolfgang H. R.
Time processing critically relies on the mesencephalic dopamine system and striato-prefrontal projections and has thus been suggested to play a key role in schizophrenia. Previous studies have provided evidence for an acceleration of the internal clock in schizophrenia that may be linked to dopaminergic pathology. The present study aimed to assess the relationship between altered time processing in schizophrenia and symptom manifestation in 22 patients and 22 controls. Subjects were required to estimate the time needed for a visual stimulus to complete a horizontal movement towards a target position on trials of varying cognitive demand. It was hypothesized that patients – compared to controls – would be less accurate at estimating the movement time, and that this effect would be modulated by symptom manifestation and task difficulty. In line with the notion of an accelerated internal clock due to dopaminergic dysregulation, particularly patients with severe positive symptoms were expected to underestimate movement time. However, if altered time perception in schizophrenia was better explained in terms of cognitive deficits, patients with severe negative symptoms should be specifically impaired, while generally, task performance should correlate with measures of processing speed and cognitive flexibility. Patients underestimated movement time on more demanding trials, although there was no link to disease-related cognitive dysfunction. Task performance was modulated by symptom manifestation. Impaired estimation of movement time was significantly correlated with PANSS positive symptom scores, with higher positive symptom scores associated with stronger underestimation of movement time. The present data thus support the notion of a deficit in anticipatory and predictive mechanisms in schizophrenia that is modulated both by symptom manifestation and by cognitive demand.
Automatic Neural Processing of Disorder-Related Stimuli in Social Anxiety Disorder: Faces and More
Frontiers in Psychology
It has been proposed that social anxiety disorder (SAD) is associated with automatic information processing biases resulting in hypersensitivity to signals of social threat such as negative facial expressions. However, the nature and extent of automatic processes in SAD on the behavioral and neural level is not entirely clear yet. The present review summarizes neuroscientific findings on automatic processing of facial threat but also other disorder-related stimuli such as emotional prosody or negative words in SAD. We review initial evidence for automatic activation of the amygdala, insula, and sensory cortices as well as for automatic early electrophysiological components. However, findings vary depending on tasks, stimuli, and neuroscientific methods. Only few studies set out to examine automatic neural processes directly and systematic attempts are as yet lacking. We suggest that future studies should: (1) use different stimulus modalities, (2) examine different emotional expressions, (3) compare findings in SAD with other anxiety disorders, (4) use more sophisticated experimental designs to investigate features of automaticity systematically, and (5) combine different neuroscientific methods (such as functional neuroimaging and electrophysiology). Finally, the understanding of neural automatic processes could also provide hints for therapeutic approaches.
SAD; automaticity; face; fMRI; EEG; emotion
Amygdala activation to threat under attentional load in individuals with anxiety disorder
Miltner, Wolfgang HR
Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders
Previous studies in healthy subjects have shown that strong attentional distraction prevents the amygdala from responding to threat stimuli. Here, we investigated the effects of attentional load on amygdala activation to threat-related stimuli in individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder.
During functional magnetic resonance imaging, spider-phobicand healthy control subjects were presented with phobia-related and neutral stimuli while performing a distraction task with varying perceptual load (high vs low).
Our data revealed a pattern of simultaneously increased amygdala and visual cortical activation to threat vs neutral pictures in phobic individuals, compared with controls, occurring regardless of attentional load.
These results suggest that, in contrast to studies in healthy subjects, amygdala activation to clinically relevant threat stimuli is more resistant to attentional load.
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