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This chapter focuses on advancements in the understanding of personality pathology gained from structural and functional neuroimaging studies. It draws from the literature on the most widely researched personality disorders including schizotypal, borderline, and antisocial personality disorder. Prominent findings in schizotypal personality disorder include abnormalities in temporal and frontal lobe volumes, decreased structural connectivity of temporal lobe regions, and inefficient recruitment of brain areas during task performance. In borderline personality disorder, neuroimaging findings are characterized by aberrant volume and activity of limbic and prefrontal brain areas that suggest diminished top-down control of affective responsivity. Studies in antisocial personality disorder reveal reduced volume in prefrontal and temporal lobe structures, white matter structure compromise, and altered brain network functional connectivity. Significant challenges in studying this complex population and limitations of current methodology are discussed. Suggestions for future directions of research in this field are provided.
This rejoinder uses the neuroimaging literature on affect regulation to exemplify how integration of complementary methods suggested by the commentaries could advance neurobiological understanding of personality disorders. It illustrates progressive insights gained from incorporating multiple sources of evidence including neuroimaging, genetics, and behavioral data associated with affect regulation. It also demonstrates the use of brain pattern activation analysis in addition to studying individual regions of interest to better understand the complex relationships between biological genotype, brain activity, and behavioral phenotype. The ways in which neuroimaging can serve as an endophenotype to bridge the gap between genes and distant phenotypes are highlighted.
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