Amygdala activation in the processing of neutral faces in social anxiety disorder: is neutral really neutral?

Psychiatry Res. 2006 Nov 22;148(1):55-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2006.05.003. Epub 2006 Oct 9.


Previous research has suggested that Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is associated with a tendency to interpret ambiguous social stimuli in a threatening manner. The present study used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine patterns of neural activation in response to the processing of neutral facial expressions in individuals diagnosed with SAD and healthy controls (CTLs). The SAD participants exhibited a different pattern of amygdala activation in response to neutral faces than did the CTL participants, suggesting a neural basis for the biased processing of ambiguous social information in SAD individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amygdala / physiopathology*
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Personal Construct Theory
  • Phobic Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Phobic Disorders / psychology