How emotional abilities modulate the influence of early life stress on hippocampal functioning

Aust, Sabine and Alkan Härtwig, Elif and Koelsch, Stefan and Heekeren, Hauke R. and Heuser, Isabella and Bajbouj, Malek (2014) How emotional abilities modulate the influence of early life stress on hippocampal functioning. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9 (7). pp. 1038-1045. ISSN 1749-5016

Full text not available from this repository.


Early life stress (ELS) is known to have considerable influence on brain development, mental health and affective functioning. Previous investigations have shown that alexithymia, a prevalent personality trait associated with difficulties experiencing and verbalizing emotions, is particularly related to ELS. The aim of the present study was to investigate how neural correlates of emotional experiences in alexithymia are altered in the presence and absence of ELS. Therefore, 50 healthy individuals with different levels of alexithymia were matched regarding ELS and investigated with respect to neural correlates of audio-visually induced emotional experiences via functional magnetic resonance imaging. The main finding was that ELS modulated hippocampal responses to pleasant (>neutral) stimuli in high-alexithymic individuals, whereas there was no such modulation in low-alexithymic individuals matched for ELS. Behavioral and psychophysiological results followed a similar pattern. When considered independent of ELS, alexithymia was associated with decreased responses in insula (pleasant > neutral) and temporal pole (unpleasant > neutral). Our results show that the influence of ELS on emotional brain responses seems to be modulated by an individual's degree of alexithymia. Potentially, protective and adverse effects of emotional abilities on brain responses to emotional experiences are discussed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Additional Information:
© The Author (2013). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
18 Jun 2015 05:46
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 01:47