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Keywords:

  • fMRI;
  • Emotion;
  • Depression;
  • Brain asymmetry

Abstract

Although numerous EEG studies have shown that depression is associated with abnormal functional asymmetries in frontal cortex, fMRI and PET studies have largely failed to identify specific brain areas showing this effect. The present study tested the hypothesis that emotion processes are related to asymmetric patterns of fMRI activity, particularly within dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). Eleven depressed and 18 control participants identified the color in which pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant words were printed. Both groups showed a leftward lateralization for pleasant words in DLPFC. In a neighboring DLPFC area, the depression group showed more right-lateralized activation than controls, replicating EEG findings. These data confirm that emotional stimulus processing and trait depression are associated with asymmetric brain functions in distinct subregions of the DLPFC that may go undetected unless appropriate analytic procedures are used.