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Childhood trauma is associated with increased brain responses to emotionally negative as compared with positive faces in patients with psychotic disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 November 2016

M. Aas
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
K. Kauppi
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
C. L. Brandt
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
M. Tesli
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
T. Kaufmann
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
N. E. Steen
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway Drammen Outpatient Clinic, Clinic of Mental Health and Addiction, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen, Norway
I. Agartz
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychiatric Research, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway
L. T. Westlye
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
O. A. Andreassen
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
I. Melle
Affiliation:
NORMENT, K.G. Jebsen Centre for Psychosis Research, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Background

Childhood trauma increases risk of a range of mental disorders including psychosis. Whereas the mechanisms are unclear, previous evidence has implicated atypical processing of emotions among the core cognitive models, in particular suggesting altered attentional allocation towards negative stimuli and increased negativity bias. Here, we tested the association between childhood trauma and brain activation during emotional face processing in patients diagnosed with psychosis continuum disorders. In particular, we tested if childhood trauma was associated with the differentiation in brain responses between negative and positive face stimuli. We also tested if trauma was associated with emotional ratings of negative and positive faces.

Method

We included 101 patients with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) schizophrenia spectrum or bipolar spectrum diagnosis. History of childhood trauma was obtained using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire. Brain activation was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging during presentation of faces with negative or positive emotional expressions. After the scanner session, patients performed emotional ratings of the same faces.

Results

Higher levels of total childhood trauma were associated with stronger differentiation in brain responses to negative compared with positive faces in clusters comprising the right angular gyrus, supramarginal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus and the lateral occipital cortex (Cohen's d = 0.72–0.77). In patients with schizophrenia, childhood trauma was associated with reporting negative faces as more negative, and positive faces as less positive (Cohen's d > 0.8).

Conclusions

Along with the observed negativity bias in the assessment of emotional valence of faces, our data suggest stronger differentiation in brain responses between negative and positive faces with higher levels of trauma.

Type
Original Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Childhood trauma is associated with increased brain responses to emotionally negative as compared with positive faces in patients with psychotic disorders
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