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Brain activation during processing of genuine facial emotion in depression: Preliminary findings

Groves, S.J., Pitcher, T.L., Melzer, T.R., Jordan, J., Carter, J.D., Malhi, G.S., Johnston, L.C. and Porter, R.J. (2018) Brain activation during processing of genuine facial emotion in depression: Preliminary findings. Journal of Affective Disorders, 225 . pp. 91-96.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2017.07.049
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Abstract

Objective

The current study aimed to examine the neural correlates of processing genuine compared with posed emotional expressions, in depressed and healthy subjects using a novel functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm
Method

During fMRI scanning, sixteen depressed patients and ten healthy controls performed an Emotion Categorisation Task, whereby participants were asked to distinguish between genuine and non-genuine (posed or neutral) facial displays of happiness and sadness.
Results

Compared to controls, the depressed group showed greater activation whilst processing genuine versus posed facial displays of sadness, in the left medial orbitofrontal cortex, caudate and putamen. The depressed group also showed greater activation whilst processing genuine facial displays of sadness relative to neutral displays, in the bilateral medial frontal/orbitofrontal cortex, left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, right dorsal anterior cingulate, bilateral posterior cingulate, right superior parietal lobe, left lingual gyrus and cuneus. No differences were found between the two groups for happy facial displays.
Limitations

Relatively small sample sizes and due to the exploratory nature of the study, no correction was made for multiple comparisons.
Conclusion

The findings of this exploratory study suggest that depressed individuals may show a different pattern of brain activation in response to genuine versus posed facial displays of sadness, compared to healthy individuals. This may have important implications for future studies that wish to examine the neural correlates of facial emotion processing in depression.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2017 Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/59269
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