A PET provocation study of generalized social phobia
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In an investigation of the neural circuits that may mediate the subjective experience of social phobia (SP), six male patients with a primary DSM-IV diagnosis of generalized social phobia watched, in the presence of a group of "communication experts," a videotape of themselves giving an impromptu talk (Exposure condition). In the control Baseline condition, they viewed a videotape of a socially competent stranger giving a talk. Regional cerebral blood flow was measured thrice under each condition. The study revealed significant deactivations from Baseline during Exposure in the right lingual gyrus (BA 18) and in the right medial frontal gyrus (BA 11); significant activations during Exposure were not observed. Deactivation of these regions may reflect a strategy of visual avoidance employed by the patients to dampen their phobic experience.
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