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Psych speaker series featuring Dr. Campbell

The first installment of the 2015/16 Department of Psychology Speaker Series will feature Dr. Darren Campbell, associate professor of psychology, discussing Social Anxiety Disorder: BOLD Responses in Mentalizing Brain Regions to Positive, Negative, and Disgust Faces, on Friday, September 25, at 3:30 p.m. in A252.

Dr. Campbell studies behaviours and concepts directly relevant to the psychological well-being of both healthy people and psychiatric populations. The primary studies focus on interpersonal interactions, emotional processing, and humour evaluations.

Here’s an abstract:

People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) engage in exaggerated mentalizing activities of self-focused processing and intensified mental state attributions to social signals. However, neural evidence on such mentalizing is limited.

We hypothesized that SAD participants would exhibit enhanced medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) activation to emotional faces (reflecting self -focused processing), and intensified temporoparietal junction (TPJ) activation to disgust faces (reflecting enhanced mental -state attributions).

Eleven adult, unmedicated participants with SAD and 11 demographically matched healthy control (HC) participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

We measured blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) responses to the viewing of Happy, Angry, and Disgust faces during a face-gender label ling task (relative to a parallel Shape/Symbol task).

We used multivariate modeling to test for Group and Group-by-Emotional Face BOLD responses. Compared to HC, SAD participants produced greater BOLD responses in the mPFC across all emotional faces. In Group-by-Emotion effects, compared to HC, SAD participants produced greater BOLD responses in the right TPJ to Disgust versus Angry (and Happy).

These neural responses are consistent with exaggerated self -focused processing and other-focused mental state attributions proposed in conceptual models of SAD.

These results point to social cognitive alterations to general social feedback and social rejection-specific feedback among people with SAD.

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