Clinical

Neural pathways of embarrassment and their modulation by social anxiety

Abstract While being in the center of attention and exposed to other’s evaluations humans are prone to experience embarrassment. To characterize the neural underpinnings of such aversive moments, we induced genuine experiences of embarrassment during person-group interactions in a functional neuroimaging study. Using a mock-up scenario with three confederates, we examined how the presence of …

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Effects of smoking cessation on presynaptic dopamine function of addicted male smokers

Abstract Background: There is evidence of abnormal cerebral dopamine transmission in nicotine-dependent smokers, but it is unclear whether dopaminergic abnormalities are due to acute nicotine abuse or whether they persist with abstinence. We addressed this question by conducting longitudinal positron emission tomography (PET) examination of smokers before and after 3 months of abstinence. Methods: We obtained baseline …

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Evidence from pupillometry and fMRI indicates reduced neural response during vicarious social pain but not physical pain in autism

Abstract Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by substantial social deficits. The notion that dysfunctions in neural circuits involved in sharing another’s affect explain these deficits is appealing, but has received only modest experimental support. Here we evaluated a complex paradigm on the vicarious social pain of embarrassment to probe social deficits in ASD as …

Evidence from pupillometry and fMRI indicates reduced neural response during vicarious social pain but not physical pain in autism Read More »

Demands in reflecting about another’s motives and intentions modulate vicarious embarrassment in autism spectrum disorders

Abstract The affective responses to another person’s condition depend on the ability to reflect about another’s thoughts and intentions. This is relevant also for high-functioning individuals with ASD who have considerable difficulties in reading the intentions of others. With the present study we introduce a novel paradigm to induce vicarious embarrassment as a form of …

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Lack of association of a functional catechol-O-methyltransferase gene polymorphism with risk of tobacco smoking: results from a multicenter case-control study

Abstract Background: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) modulates dopaminergic neurotransmission in the prefrontal cortex as well as in the mesolimbic reward system. Since the reward system mediates addictive behavior, the COMT gene is a strong candidate gene regarding the pathophysiology of tobacco dependence and smoking behavior. Because of rather conflicting results in previous studies, the purpose of the …

Lack of association of a functional catechol-O-methyltransferase gene polymorphism with risk of tobacco smoking: results from a multicenter case-control study Read More »

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