The amygdalae play an important role in the evaluation and processing of emotionally salient visual stimuli. However, individual differences in personality traits, such as Harm Avoidance (HA), have been reported to influence emotional amygdalae responses. To trigger strong approach and withdrawal-related emotions in 'never depressed' young female subjects under fMRI, we presented them with blocks of happy 'healthy' baby faces and baby faces disfigured by severe dermatological conditions and we integrated the temperament dimension HA into our analysis. No other instructions were given than to watch the images attentively. Only in withdrawal-related emotional experience, we observed a negative correlation between HA and left amygdala activity, suggesting that during passive viewing females scoring higher on HA 'avoid' images with highly aversive content. When investigating the amygdala's emotional role in passive viewing paradigms, personality features such as HA should be taken into account.
|Nummer van het tijdschrift
|Published - 5 jul 2010