Human-Related Emotional Stimuli Can Cause a Hippocampal and Thalamic Over-Response in People with Unstable Personalities


Hippocampus is crucial for the formation of emotional memory. We found the relationship between hippocampal responses to emotional stimuli and the mental stabilities of people in our preliminary study. In this study, we have also evaluated how the emotional stimuli would affect amygdala and thalamus in the brain, and how the personality stabilities could relate to the responses in the brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We evaluated the subjects personality features with the Yatabe-Guilford Personality Test (Y-G test) and psychosomatic symptoms with the Cornell Medical Index (CMI). The subjects were categorized into the mentally stable group and the mentally unstable group according to the total scores of the Y-G test and the CMI. The brain functional responses under emotional stimuli were measured using fMRI. The region of interest (ROI) analysis was performed to abstract significant changes in order to compare responses among the different emotional stimuli. We conducted the regression analysis to abstract the relationship between the mean % signal change from fMRI and the personality stability. The fMRI results showed that the hippocampus, thalamus, and right amygdala activities under the human relationship stimuli increased with ascending value of mental instability. Our findings suggest that the memory process in the hippocampus and the threat alarm system in the thalamus under the human-related stimuli crucially influence the emotional reaction of mentally unstable people. These processes in the brain would affect the event that stresses on human relationships that often cause people to suffer from mental disorders.

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Y. Mizuno-Matsumoto, T. Hayashi, E. Okamoto, D. Miwa, T. Asakawa, A. Muramatsu, M. Kato and T. Murata, "Human-Related Emotional Stimuli Can Cause a Hippocampal and Thalamic Over-Response in People with Unstable Personalities," Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, Vol. 3 No. 7, 2013, pp. 509-517. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2013.37053.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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