Abnormalities in neural processing of emotional stimuli in Williams syndrome vary according to social vs. non-social content

Karen E. Muñoz, Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Ahmad R. Hariri, Carolyn B. Mervis, Venkata S. Mattay, Colleen A. Morris, Karen Faith Berman
2010 NeuroImage  
Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare genetic disorder caused by the deletion of ~25 genes on chromosome 7q11.23 and is characterized by both hypersociability and increases in specific phobia and anticipatory anxiety regarding non-social entities or circumstances. Alterations in amygdala reactivity and prefrontal regulation consistent with the observed behavioral pattern of social versus non-social abnormalities have been previously demonstrated in individuals with WS . However, in that study, the
more » ... cial stimulus (faces) matching task was more difficult than the non-social scene (IAPS stimuli) matching task, making it impossible to disambiguate the relative contributions of task difficulty and stimulus type (social versus nonsocial). In the present study, we examined the performance of the same group of participants with WS and normal IQs during a more cognitively demanding task using the same scene stimuli as in the prior study. Confirming previous findings, the results indicated (a) a differential response of prefrontal regions as a function of task difficulty and (b) a persistently increased activation of the amygdala to non-social scenes by individuals with WS regardless of cognitive load. These data provide further evidence of disruption in amygdala-prefrontal circuitry in individuals with WS.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.11.069 pmid:20004252 pmcid:PMC3013360 fatcat:v7cz35darnhqdprsf6d55edcgq