Striatal dopamine (D2) receptor availability predicts socially desirable responding

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Research in non-human primates has implicated striatal dopamine (D2) receptor function in the expression of social dominance—a fundamental component of social extraversion. We predicted that trait extraversion - indexed by the revised Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ-R) - would correlate with striatal DA (D2) receptor measures - indexed by [11C]-Raclopride binding potential (BP) - in 28 healthy post-menopausal females (mean age=75 years; range=58-91 years). Region of interest (ROI) and voxel-based statistical parametric mapping (SPM) analyses were performed, using a reference tissue model for [11C]-Raclopride. ROI analysis showed moderately significant negative correlations between extraversion and BP measures in the left caudate and between psychoticism scores and BP in the right putamen. Unexpectedly, scores on the Lie scale, a measure of socially desirable responding, were significantly and negatively correlated with BP measures in the putamen and survived Bonferroni correction on the right side. After controlling for the potential confounding of self-report bias in high Lie scorers, only the correlation between Lie scores and BP measures in the right putamen remained significant. Voxel-based analysis showed only Lie scores to be significantly and negatively correlated with BP measures in the right putamen. We explored this association further by applying an ROI-based approach to data on a previously scanned sample of young adults (n=13) and found a similar pattern of association, which achieved trend level significance in the right putamen. Although unanticipated, the relationship observed between BP measures in the right putamen and Lie scores is consistent with dopaminergic involvement in socially rewarding behaviour. How this relates to dopaminergic tone will need to be further explored.

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