Examining neural correlates of psychopathology using a lesion-based approach

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Studies of individuals with focal brain damage have long been used to expand understanding of the neural basis of psychopathology. However, most previous studies were conducted using small sample sizes and relatively coarse methods for measuring psychopathology or mapping brain-behavior relationships. Here, we examined the factor structure and neural correlates of psychopathology in 232 individuals with focal brain damage, using their responses to the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2-Restructured Form (MMPI-2-RF). Factor analysis and voxel-based lesion symptom mapping were used to examine the structure and neural correlates of psychopathology in this sample. Consistent with existing MMPI-2-RF literature, separate internalizing, externalizing, and psychotic symptom dimensions were found. In addition, a somatic dimension likely reflecting neurological symptoms was identified. Damage to the medial temporal lobe, including the hippocampus, was associated with scales related to both internalizing problems and psychoticism. Damage to the medial temporal lobe and orbitofrontal cortex was associated with both a general distrust of others and beliefs that one is being personally targeted by others. These findings provide evidence for the critical role of dysfunction in specific frontal and temporal regions in the development of psychopathology.

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