Article

Using Functional Neuroimaging to Refine the Diagnostic Construct of Borderline Personality Disorder

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Most regions where differences were found in the brain function in BPD form part of the frontolimbic circuit. Dysfunction of frontolimbic circuitry is one of the most accepted models to explain the BPD symptoms, including emotional dysregulation and social cognition deficits (26). This same circuit has been related to morphologic and functional brain changes associated with a history of child abuse (27). ...
Article
Full-text available
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of impulsivity, affective instability, and difficulty to establish and manage interpersonal relationships. However, little is known about its etiology and neurobiological substrates. In our study, we wanted to investigate the influence of child abuse in the psychopathology of BPD by means of social cognitive paradigms [the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) and the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET)], and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). For this, we recruited 33 participants, 18 BPD patients, and 15 controls. High levels of self-reported childhood maltreatment were reported by BPD patients. For the sexual abuse subdimension, there were no differences between the BPD and the control groups, but there was a negative correlation between MASC scores and total childhood maltreatment levels, as well as between physical abuse, physical negligence, and MASC. Both groups showed that the higher the level of childhood maltreatment, the lower the performance on the MASC social cognitive test. Further, in the BPD group, there was hypoconnectivity between the structures responsible for emotion regulation and social cognitive responses that have been described as part of the frontolimbic circuitry (i.e., amygdala). Differential levels of connectivity, associated with different types and levels of abuse were also observed.
... Most regions where differences were found in the brain function in BPD form part of the frontolimbic circuit. Dysfunction of frontolimbic circuitry is one of the most accepted models to explain the BPD symptoms, including emotional dysregulation and social cognition deficits (26). This same circuit has been related to morphologic and functional brain changes associated with a history of child abuse (27). ...
Article
Full-text available
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of impulsivity, affective instability, and difficulty to establish and manage interpersonal relationships. However, little is known about its etiology and neurobiological substrates. In our study, we wanted to investigate the influence of child abuse in the psychopathology of BPD by means of social cognitive paradigms [the Movie for the Assessment of Social Cognition (MASC) and the reading the mind in the eyes test (RMET)], and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). For this, we recruited 33 participants, 18 BPD patients, and 15 controls. High levels of self-reported childhood maltreatment were reported by BPD patients. For the sexual abuse subdimension, there were no differences between the BPD and the control groups, but there was a negative correlation between MASC scores and total childhood maltreatment levels, as well as between physical abuse, physical negligence, and MASC. Both groups showed that the higher the level of childhood maltreatment, the lower the performance on the MASC social cognitive test. Further, in the BPD group, there was hypoconnectivity between the structures responsible for emotion regulation and social cognitive responses that have been described as part of the frontolimbic circuitry (i.e., amygdala). Differential levels of connectivity, associated with different types and levels of abuse were also observed.
... Most regions where differences were found in the brain function in BPD form part of the frontolimbic circuit. Dysfunction of frontolimbic circuitry is one of the most accepted models to explain the BPD symptoms, including emotional dysregulation and social cognition deficits (26). This same circuit has been related to morphologic and functional brain changes associated with a history of child abuse (27). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of impulsivity, affective instability, and difficulty to establish and manage interpersonal relationships. This paper assessed differences in performance on social cognitive paradigms (MASC, RMTE) and how it related to child abuse. Specifically, it evaluated the relationship between performance on cognitive paradigms and baseline brain connectivity in patients with BPD, compared to healthy controls. BPD patients had higher levels of childhood maltreatment, increased impulsivity and aggression, and more dissociative symptoms than control subjects. For the sexual abuse subdimension, there were no differences between the BPD and the control groups, but there was a negative correlation between MASC scores and total childhood maltreatment levels, as well as between physical abuse, physical negligence, and MASC. Both groups showed that the higher the level of childhood maltreatment, the lower the performance on the MASC social cognitive test. Further, in the BPD group, there was hypoconnectivity between the structures responsible for emotion regulation and social cognitive responses that have been described as part of the frontolimbic circuitry. The more serious the child abuse, the lower the connectivity.
... 65 A major confounding influence across studies of BPD is heterogeneity in symptom presentation (i.e., 256 possible symptom combinations). 70 Multiple other factors may also be contributory. A recent systematic review of the evidence for altered interpersonal functioning in BPD (i.e., social cognition, reactivity to interpersonal stressors, interpersonal aggression, differences in trust and cooperation) emphasized the importance of utilizing objective assessments of behavior rather than relying on self-report measures. ...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely agreed that emotion regulation plays an important role in many psychological disorders. We make the case that emotion regulation is in fact a key transdiagnostic factor, using the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) as an organizing framework. In particular, we first consider how transdiagnostic and RDoC approaches have extended categorical views. Next, we examine links among emotion generation, emotion regulation, and psychopathology, with particular attention to key emotion regulation stages including identification, strategy selection, implementation, and monitoring. We then propose that emotion regulation be viewed as a sixth domain in the RDoC matrix, and provide a brief overview of how the literature has used the RDoC units of analyses to study emotion regulation. Finally, we highlight opportunities for future research and make recommendations for assessing and treating psychopathology.
Article
Full-text available
The DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorders Work Group formulated a hybrid dimensional/categorical model that represented personality disorders as combinations of core impairments in personality functioning with specific configurations of problematic personality traits. Specific clusters of traits were selected to serve as indicators for six DSM categorical diagnoses to be retained in this system – antisocial, avoidant, borderline, narcissistic, obsessive–compulsive and schizotypal personality disorders. The goal of the current study was to describe the empirical relationships between the DSM-5 section III pathological traits and DSM-IV/DSM-5 section II personality disorder diagnoses. Method Data were obtained from a sample of 337 clinicians, each of whom rated one of his or her patients on all aspects of the DSM-IV and DSM-5 proposed alternative model. Regression models were constructed to examine trait–disorder relationships, and the incremental validity of core personality dysfunctions (i.e. criterion A features for each disorder) was examined in combination with the specified trait clusters. Results Findings suggested that the trait assignments specified by the Work Group tended to be substantially associated with corresponding DSM-IV concepts, and the criterion A features provided additional diagnostic information in all but one instance. Conclusions Although the DSM-5 section III alternative model provided a substantially different taxonomic structure for personality disorders, the associations between this new approach and the traditional personality disorder concepts in DSM-5 section II make it possible to render traditional personality disorder concepts using alternative model traits in combination with core impairments in personality functioning.
Article
Full-text available
Background: Contemporary theorists have suggested that impulsivity and emotion dysregulation are two of the core features of BPD. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationships between Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) features, impulsivity, and emotion dysregulation in adolescence. Methods: 1,157 nonclinical adolescents were administered the Borderline Personality Inventory, following which three groups of adolescents with high (high-BPD; n = 29), average (average-BPD; n = 31), and low (low-BPD; n = 31) levels of BPD features were selected. Participants in these three groups were administered the UPPS-P Impulsive Behavior Scale (UPPS-P) and the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Results: UPPS-P Negative and Positive Urgency scales, as well as the DERS total score, significantly discriminated high-BPD adolescents from both other groups. The differences in UPPS-P Negative and Positive Urgency between high-BPD adolescents and both control groups remained significant when partialing out the variance associated with the DERS; However, when partialing out the variance associated with Positive and Negative Urgency, high-BPD adolescents reported significantly higher DERS scores than only the low-BPD control group (and not the average-BPD group). Finally, although the differences in Positive Urgency between high-BPD adolescents and both control groups remained significant when partialing out the variance associated with Negative Urgency, the between group differences in Negative Urgency did not remain significant when controlling for the variance associated with Positive Urgency. Conclusions: These findings highlight the relevance of both emotion dysregulation and two dimensions of impulsivity (negative and positive urgency) to BPD features in adolescence, providing evidence for a unique association between BPD features and Positive Urgency in particular. These findings add to the literature in this area, suggesting that the tendency to act rashly in the context of intense positive affect may have unique relevance to BPD features in adolescence.
Article
Full-text available
Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) display an impoverished sense of self and representations of self and others that shift between positive and negative poles. However, little research has investigated the nature of representational disturbance in BPD. The present study takes a multimodal approach. A card sort task was used to investigate complexity, integration, and valence of self-representation in BPD. Impairment in maintenance of self and other representations was assessed using a personality representational maintenance task. Finally, functional MRI (fMRI) was used to assess whether individuals with BPD show neural abnormalities related specifically to the self and what brain areas may be related to poor representational maintenance. Individuals with BPD sorted self-aspects suggesting more complexity of self-representation, but also less integration and more negative valence overall. On the representational maintenance task, individuals with BPD showed less consistency in their representations of self and others over the 3-hr period, but only for abstract, personality-based representations. Performance on this measure mediated between-groups brain activation in several areas supporting social cognition. We found no evidence for social-cognitive disturbance specific to the self. Additionally, the BPD group showed main effects, insensitive to condition, of hyperactivation in the medial prefrontal cortex, temporal parietal junction, several regions of the frontal pole, the precuneus and middle temporal gyrus, all areas crucial social cognition. In contrast, controls evidenced greater activation in visual, sensory, motor, and mirror neuron regions. These findings are discussed in relation to research regarding hypermentalization and the overlap between self- and other-disturbance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Theory and research point to the role of attachment difficulties in borderline personality disorder (BPD). Attachment insecurity is believed to lead to chronic problems in social relationships, attributable, in part, to impairments in social cognition, which comprise maladaptive mental representations of self, others, and self in relation to others. However, few studies have attempted to identify social-cognitive mechanisms that link attachment insecurity to BPD and to assess whether such mechanisms are specific to the disorder. For the present study, empirically derived indices of mentalization, self-other boundaries, and identity diffusion were tested as mediators between attachment style and personality disorder symptoms. In a cross-sectional structural equation model, mentalization and self-other boundaries mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and BPD. Mentalization partially mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and antisocial personality disorder (PD) symptoms, and self-other boundaries mediated the relationship between attachment anxiety and avoidant PD symptoms. The findings support theories that insecure attachment is associated with difficulties in social cognition and that a distinctive pattern of impairment characterizes BPD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Full-text available
Emotional problems figure prominently in many clinical conditions. Recent efforts to explain and treat these conditions have emphasized the role of emotion dysregulation. However, emotional problems are not always the result of emotion dysregulation, and even when emotional problems do arise from emotion dysregulation, it is necessary to specify precisely what type of emotion dysregulation might be operative. In this review, we present an extended process model of emotion regulation, and we use this model to describe key points at which emotion-regulation difficulties can lead to various forms of psychopathology. These difficulties are associated with (a) identification of the need to regulate emotions, (b) selection among available regulatory options, (c) implementation of a selected regulatory tactic, and (d) monitoring of implemented emotion regulation across time. Implications and future directions for basic research, assessment, and intervention are discussed. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology Volume 11 is March 28, 2015. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/catalog/pubdates.aspx for revised estimates.
Article
Full-text available
Objective Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is considered a multidimensional disorder, with distinct symptom clusters including re-experiencing, avoidance/numbing, hyperarousal, and most recently depersonalization/derealization. However, the extent of differing intrinsic network connectivity underlying these symptoms has not been fully investigated. We therefore investigated the degree of association between resting connectivity of the salience (SN), default mode (DMN), and central executive (CEN) networks and PTSD symptom severity.Method Using resting-state functional MRI data from PTSD participants (n = 21), we conducted multivariate analyses to test whether connectivity of extracted independent components varied as a function of re-experiencing, avoidance/numbing, hyperarousal, and depersonalization/derealization.ResultsHyperarousal symptoms were associated with reduced connectivity of posterior insula/superior temporal gyrus within SN [peak Montréal Neurological Institute (MNI): −44, −8, 0, t = −4.2512, k = 40]. Depersonalization/derealization severity was associated with decreased connectivity of perigenual anterior cingulate/ventromedial prefrontal cortex within ventral anterior DMN (peak MNI: 8, 40, −4; t = −3.8501; k = 15) and altered synchrony between two DMN components and between DMN and CEN.Conclusion Our results are consistent with prior research showing intrinsic network disruptions in PTSD and imply heterogeneous connectivity patterns underlying PTSD symptom dimensions. These findings suggest possible biomarkers for PTSD and its dissociative subtype.
Article
Full-text available
Socially anxious individuals tend to shift their attention away from external socially threatening cues and instead become highly self-focused. Such heightened self-focused attention has been suggested to be involved in the development and maintenance of social anxiety disorder. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural correlates of self-focused attention in 16 high socially anxious (HSA) and 16 low socially anxious (LSA) individuals. Participants were instructed to focus their attention either inwardly or outwardly during a simulated social situation. Results indicate hyperactivation of medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) and temporal pole during inward vs outward attention in HSA compared with LSA participants. Furthermore, activation of mPFC, right anterior insula, TPJ and posterior cingulate cortex was positively correlated with the trait of self-focused attention in HSA subjects. Results highlight the prominent role of the mPFC and other cortical structures in abnormal self-focused attention in social anxiety. Finally, findings for the insula suggest increased processing of bodily states that is related to the amount of habitual self-focused attention in social anxiety.
Article
Full-text available
Individuals regulate their emotions in a wide variety of ways. In the present review it has been addressed the issue of whether some forms of emotion regulation are healthier than others by focusing on two commonly used emotion regulation strategies: cognitive reappraisal (changing the way one thinks about potentially emotion-eliciting events) and expressive suppression (changing the way one behaviorally responds to emotion-eliciting events). In the first section, experimental findings showing that cognitive reappraisal has a healthier profile of short-term affective, cognitive, and social consequences than expressive suppression are briefly reported. In the second section, individual-difference findings are reviewed showing that using cognitive reappraisal to regulate emotions is associated with healthier patterns of affect, social functioning, and well-being than is using expressive suppression. Finally, brain structural basis and functional activation linked to the habitual usage of cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression are discussed in detail.
Article
Full-text available
Amygdala function is of high interest for cognitive, social and psychiatric neuroscience, emphasizing the need for reliable assessments in humans. Previous work has indicated unsatisfactorily low within-subject reliability of amygdala activation fMRI measures. Based on basic science evidence for strong habituation of amygdala response to repeated stimuli, we investigated whether a quantification of habituation provides additional information beyond the usual estimate of the overall mean activity. We assessed the within-subject reliability of amygdala habituation measures during a facial emotion matching paradigm in 25 healthy subjects. We extracted the amygdala signal decrement across the course of the fMRI run for the two test-retest measurement sessions and compared reliability estimates with previous findings based on mean response amplitude. Retest-reliability of the session-wise amygdala habituation was significantly higher than the evoked amygdala mean amplitude (intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) = 0.53 vs. 0.16). To test the task-specificity of this finding, we compared the retest-reliability of amygdala habituation across two different tasks. Significant amygdala response decrement was also seen in a cognitive task (n-back working memory) that did not per se activate the amygdala, but was totally unreliable in that context (ICC ~ 0.0), arguing for task-specificity. Together the results show that emotion-dependent amygdala habituation is a robust and considerably more reliable index than the mean amplitude, and provides a robust potential endpoint for within-subject designs including pharmaco-fMRI studies.
Article
Full-text available
Background: Studies in borderline personality disorder (BPD) have consistently revealed abnormalities in fronto-limbic brain regions during emotional, somatosensory and cognitive challenges. Here we investigated changes in resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) of three fronto-limbic core regions of specific importance to BPD. Method: Functional magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired in 20 unmedicated female BPD patients and 17 healthy controls (HC, matched for age, sex and education) during rest. The amygdala, and the dorsal and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) were defined as seeds to investigate RSFC patterns of a medial temporal lobe network, the salience network and default mode network. The Dissociation Experience Scale (DES), a measure of trait dissociation, was additionally used as a predictor of RSFC with these seed regions. Results: Compared with HC, BPD patients showed a trend towards increased RSFC between the amygdala and the insula, orbitofrontal cortex and putamen. Compared with controls, patients furthermore exhibited diminished negative RSFC between the dorsal ACC and posterior cingulate cortex, a core region of the default mode network, and regions of the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex. Last, increased negative RSFC between the ventral ACC and medial occipital regions was observed in BPD patients. DES scores were correlated with amygdala connectivity with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and fusiform gyrus. Conclusions: Our findings suggest alterations in resting-state networks associated with processing of negative emotions, encoding of salient events, and self-referential processing in individuals with BPD compared with HC. These results shed more light on the role of abnormal brain connectivity in BPD.
Article
Full-text available
An intense fear of abandonment or rejection is a central feature of social relationships for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD).20 unmedicated BPD-patients and 20 healthy participants (HC, matched for age and education) played a virtual ball-tossing game including the three conditions exclusion, inclusion, and a control condition with predefined game rules, while cerebral activity was assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjective experiences of exclusion were assessed after each blocked condition.Both groups felt similarly excluded during the exclusion condition, however BPD subjects felt more excluded than HCs during the inclusion and control conditions. In all three conditions, BPD patients showed a stronger engagement of the dorsal anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortex. For HCs, activation in several cerebral regions such as the insula and the precuneus differed depending on the interaction situation, while for BPD subjects activation in these regions was not modulated by experimental conditions.Subjects with BPD differed from HCs in both their subjective reactions to and their neural processing of social interaction situations. Our data suggest that individuals with BPD have difficulty in discriminating between social situations, and tend to hypermentalize during social encounters that are not determined by the intentions of others.
Article
Full-text available
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by "stable instability" of emotions and behavior and their regulation. This emotional and behavioral instability corresponds with a neurocognitive triple network model of psychopathology, which suggests that aberrant emotional saliency and cognitive control is associated with aberrant interaction across three intrinsic connectivity networks [i.e., the salience network (SN), default mode network (DMN), and central executive network (CEN)]. The objective of the current study was to investigate whether and how such triple network intrinsic functional connectivity (iFC) is changed in patients with BPD. We acquired resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data from 14 patients with BPD and 16 healthy controls. High-model order independent component analysis was used to extract spatiotemporal patterns of ongoing, coherent blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal fluctuations from rs-fMRI data. Main outcome measures were iFC within networks (intra-iFC) and between networks (i.e., network time course correlation inter-iFC). Aberrant intra-iFC was found in patients' DMN, SN, and CEN, consistent with previous findings. While patients' inter-iFC of the CEN was decreased, inter-iFC of the SN was increased. In particular, a balance index reflecting the relationship of CEN- and SN-inter-iFC across networks was strongly shifted from CEN to SN connectivity in patients. Results provide first preliminary evidence for aberrant triple network iFC in BPD. Our data suggest a shift of inter-network iFC from networks involved in cognitive control to those of emotion-related activity in BPD, potentially reflecting the persistent instability of emotion regulation in patients.
Article
Full-text available
The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is implicated in a variety of adaptive decision-making processes. Human studies suggest that there is a functional dissociation between medial and lateral OFC (mOFC and lOFC, respectively) subregions when performing certain choice procedures. However, little work has examined the functional consequences of manipulations of OFC subregions on decision making in rodents. In the present experiments, impulsive choice was assessed by evaluating intolerance to delayed, but economically optimal, reward options using a delay-discounting paradigm. Following initial delay-discounting training, rats received bilateral neurotoxic or sham lesions targeting whole OFC (wOFC) or restricted to either mOFC or lOFC subregions. A transient flattening of delay-discounting curves was observed in wOFC-lesioned animals relative to shams— differences that disappeared with further training. Stable, dissociable effects were found when lesions were restricted to OFC subregions; mOFC-lesioned rats showed increased, whereas lOFC-lesioned rats showed decreased, preference for the larger-delayed reward relative to sham-controls—a pattern that remained significant during retraining after all delays were removed. When locations of levers leading to small–immediate versus large– delayed rewards were reversed, wOFC-and lOFC-lesioned rats showed retarded, whereas mOFC-lesioned rats showed accelerated, trajectories for reversal of lever preference. These results provide the first direct evidence for dissociable functional roles of the mOFC and lOFC for impulsive choice in rodents. The findings are consistent with recent human functional imaging studies and suggest that functions of mOFC and lOFC subregions may be evolutionarily conserved and contribute differentially to decision-making processes.
Article
Full-text available
Background Current diagnostic systems for mental disorders rely upon presenting signs and symptoms, with the result that current definitions do not adequately reflect relevant neurobiological and behavioral systems - impeding not only research on etiology and pathophysiology but also the development of new treatments. Discussion The National Institute of Mental Health began the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) project in 2009 to develop a research classification system for mental disorders based upon dimensions of neurobiology and observable behavior. RDoC supports research to explicate fundamental biobehavioral dimensions that cut across current heterogeneous disorder categories. We summarize the rationale, status and long-term goals of RDoC, outline challenges in developing a research classification system (such as construct validity and a suitable process for updating the framework) and discuss seven distinct differences in conception and emphasis from current psychiatric nosologies. Summary Future diagnostic systems cannot reflect ongoing advances in genetics, neuroscience and cognitive science until a literature organized around these disciplines is available to inform the revision efforts. The goal of the RDoC project is to provide a framework for research to transform the approach to the nosology of mental disorders.
Article
Full-text available
Empirical evidence and therapeutic interactions have suggested that individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) may demonstrate enhancements in aspects of social-emotional cognition. To assess the empirical evidence for this phenomenon, and to comprehensively evaluate alternative hypotheses for its possible role in BPD etiology and symptoms, the authors systematically searched the literature for investigations of empathy in BPD and reviewed 28 studies assessing a range of empathic abilities. Considered together, these data demonstrated comparable levels of evidence for enhanced, preserved, and reduced empathic skills in individuals with BPD. Evidence for empathic enhancements is thus substantial but inconsistent across studies, being found mainly under more socially interactive experimental paradigms. Based on the results of the review and previous explanations for BPD symptoms, the authors propose a new model for explaining the borderline paradox: that a combination of increased attention to social stimuli and dysfunctional social information processing may account in part for the specific empathic enhancements and reduced overall social functioning in BPD.
Article
Full-text available
Many typical symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD) occur within interpersonal contexts, suggesting that BPD is characterized by aberrant social cognition. While research consistently shows that BPD patients have biases in mental state attribution (e.g., evaluate others as malevolent), the research focusing on accuracy in inferring mental states (i.e., cognitive empathy) is less consistent. For complex and ecologically valid tasks in particular, emerging evidence suggests that individuals with BPD have impairments in the attribution of emotions, thoughts, and intentions of others (e.g., Preißler et al., 2010). A history of childhood trauma and co-morbid PTSD seem to be strong additional predictors for cognitive empathy deficits. Together with reduced emotional empathy and aberrant sending of social signals (e.g., expression of mixed and hard-to-read emotions), the deficits in mental state attribution might contribute to behavioral problems in BPD. Given the importance of social cognition on the part of both the sender and the recipient in maintaining interpersonal relationships and therapeutic alliance, these impairments deserve more attention.
Article
Full-text available
Impulsivity is regarded as a clinical, diagnostic and pathophysiological hallmark of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Self-report measures of impulsivity consistently support the notion of higher impulsive traits in BPD patients as compared to healthy control subjects. Laboratory tests of impulsivity, i.e. neuropsychological tests of impulse control render weak and inconsistent results both across different cognitive components of impulse control and within the same cognitive component of impulse control. One important factor worsening impulsive behaviors and impulse control deficits in BPD is comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, emotional dysregulation interacts with impulse control especially for BPD salient emotions. In sum, although basic mechanisms of impulse control seem not to be disturbed in BPD, clinically well observed impulsive behaviors may be explained by comorbid ADHD or may be the consequence of dysregulation of BPD salient emotions.
Article
Full-text available
Following Linehan's biosocial model, we conceptualize emotion dysregulation in borderline personality disorder (BPD) as consisting of four components: emotion sensitivity, heightened and labile negative affect, a deficit of appropriate regulation strategies, and a surplus of maladaptive regulation strategies. We review the evidence supporting each of these components. Given the complexity of the construct of emotion dysregulation and its involvement in many disorders, there is a need for research that specifies which components of emotion dysregulation are under study and also examines the interplay amongst these emotion dysregulation components.
Article
Full-text available
Background: Both emotion regulation and impulsivity are core aspects of borderline personality disorder (BPD) pathology. Although both problems may be combined specifically in BPD, few studies to date have investigated the emotional modulation of impulsivity in BPD. Methods: Women with BPD and matched healthy controls performed go/no-go tasks after induction of anger, joy or a neutral mood by vocally presented short stories. Dependent variables were the behavioural results and functional magnetic resonance imaging data. Results: We included 17 women with BPD and 18 controls in our study. No behavioural group differences were found. However, patients with BPD showed stronger activation of the left amygdala and weaker activation of the subgenual anterior cingulate during anger induction than controls. Inhibition in the go/no-go task after anger induction increased activity in the left inferior frontal cortex in controls, but not in women with BPD, who, in turn, showed increased activation in the subthalamic nucleus. Limitations: Findings cannot be generalized to men, and 4 patients were taking antidepressant medication (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). In addition, no patient control group was investigated, thus we do not know whether findings are specific to BPD compared with other disorders. Conclusion: Our findings are consistent with the view that a disturbed amygdala-prefrontal network in patients with BPD is compensated by a subcortical loop involving the subthalamic nucleus, leading to normal behavioural inhibition in these patients.
Article
Full-text available
An individual has a theory of mind if he imputes mental states to himself and others. A system of inferences of this kind is properly viewed as a theory because such states are not directly observable, and the system can be used to make predictions about the behavior of others. As to the mental states the chimpanzee may infer, consider those inferred by our own species, for example, purpose or intention, as well as knowledge, belief, thinking, doubt, guessing, pretending, liking, and so forth. To determine whether or not the chimpanzee infers states of this kind, we showed an adult chimpanzee a series of videotaped scenes of a human actor struggling with a variety of problems. Some problems were simple, involving inaccessible food – bananas vertically or horizontally out of reach, behind a box, and so forth – as in the original Kohler problems; others were more complex, involving an actor unable to extricate himself from a locked cage, shivering because of a malfunctioning heater, or unable to play a phonograph because it was unplugged. With each videotape the chimpanzee was given several photographs, one a solution to the problem, such as a stick for the inaccessible bananas, a key for the locked up actor, a lit wick for the malfunctioning heater. The chimpanzee's consistent choice of the correct photographs can be understood by assuming that the animal recognized the videotape as representing a problem, understood the actor's purpose, and chose alternatives compatible with that purpose.
Article
Given recent attention to emotion regulation as a potentially unifying function of diverse symptom presentations, there is a need for comprehensive measures that adequately assess difficulties in emotion regulation among adults. This paper (a) proposes an integrative conceptualization of emotion regulation as involving not just the modulation of emotional arousal, but also the awareness, understanding, and acceptance of emotions, and the ability to act in desired ways regardless of emotional state; and (b) begins to explore the factor structure and psychometric properties of a new measure, the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS). Two samples of undergraduate students completed questionnaire packets. Preliminary findings suggest that the DERS has high internal consistency, good test–retest reliability, and adequate construct and predictive validity.
Article
In our TICS Review in 2004, we proposed that a sector of the right inferior frontal cortex (rIFC) in humans is critical for inhibiting response tendencies. Here we survey new evidence, discuss ongoing controversies, and provide an updated theory. We propose that the rIFC (along with one or more fronto-basal-ganglia networks) is best characterized as a brake. This brake can be turned on in different modes (totally, to outright suppress a response; or partially, to pause), and in different contexts (externally, by stop or salient signals; or internally, by goals). We affirm inhibition as a central component of executive control that relies upon the rIFC and associated networks, and explain why rIFC disruption could generally underpin response control disorders.
Article
Impulsivity is central to borderline personality disorder (BPD). Response inhibition, addressing the ability to suppress or stop actions, is one aspect of behavioral impulse control which is frequently used to assess impulsivity. BPD patients display deficits in response inhibition under stress condition or negative emotions. We assessed whether response inhibition and its neural underpinnings are impaired in BPD when tested in an emotionally neutral setting and when co-morbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is excluded. To this end, we studied response inhibition in unmedicated BPD patients and healthy controls (HC) in two independent samples using functional magnetic resonance imaging during Simon-, Go/nogo-, and Stopsignal tasks. BPD patients and HC did not differ significantly in their performance in the Go/nogo and the Stopsignal tasks. Response interference in the Simon task was increased in BPD patients in one sample, but this could not be replicated in the second sample. In both samples, no significant differences in brain activation patterns during any of the tasks were present while the neural impulse control network was robustly activated during the inhibition tasks in both groups. Our results provide evidence that under emotionally neutral conditions response inhibition is not impaired in patients with BPD without co-occurring ADHD.
Article
A large number of previous neuroimaging studies have explored the functional alterations of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, abnormalities in the functional architecture of resting-state networks in PTSD were rarely elucidated. This study used independent component analysis to explore the resting-state intranetwork and internetwork functional connectivity differences between 20 PTSD patients and 20 matched healthy controls (HCs). Selective alterations of intranetwork and internetwork intrinsic functional connectivities were found in the PTSD patients. Compared with HCs, the PTSD patients exhibited significantly decreased network connectivity within the anterior default mode network, posterior default mode network (pDMN), salience network (SN), sensory-motor network, and auditory network. Furthermore, the PTSD patients exhibited increased internetwork connectivity between SN and pDMN. This study lacked recruitment of trauma-exposed HCs, which limits our ability to determine whether the alterations are caused by PTSD or trauma exposure. The findings suggested that the PTSD patients exhibited abnormal functional connectivity at the brain network level. Notably, the enhanced internetwork connectivity between SN and pDMN in the PTSD patients may be associated with hyperarousal and heightened anxiety in PTSD. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Article
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by disturbances in emotional, behavioral, and social functioning. The relation between BPD and empathy, which may affect the functional difficulties associated with this disorder, is complex because there is some evidence of heighted empathic processing and some evidence of reduced empathic processing in BPD. The current study was designed to investigate the association between BPD traits and brain activity during an empathic processing task (emotion perspective taking) in a nonclinical sample (N = 82). Participants completed the Five-Factor Borderline Inventory and underwent functional MRI while conducting an emotional perspective-taking task. Higher BPD trait scores were associated with hypoactivity in two brain regions involved in cognitive empathy (superior temporal sulcus and the temporoparietal junction). These data provide support to existing models describing the heterogeneous nature of BPD and suggest that reduced neural activity may in part affect altered empathic processing in BPD. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
The superior temporal sulcus (STS) is considered a hub for social perception and cognition, including the perception of faces and human motion, as well as understanding others' actions, mental states, and language. However, the functional organization of the STS remains debated: Is this broad region composed of multiple functionally distinct modules, each specialized for a different process, or are STS subregions multifunctional, contributing to multiple processes? Is the STS spatially organized, and if so, what are the dominant features of this organization? We address these questions by measuring STS responses to a range of social and linguistic stimuli in the same set of human participants, using fMRI. We find a number of STS subregions that respond selectively to certain types of social input, organized along a posterior-to-anterior axis. We also identify regions of overlapping response to multiple contrasts, including regions responsive to both language and theory of mind, faces and voices, and faces and biological motion. Thus, the human STS contains both relatively domain-specific areas, and regions that respond to multiple types of social information. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press.
Article
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious condition involving emotion dysregulation. Past research has identified BPD-associated differences within fronto-limbic circuitry during conditions of processing negative emotion. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigms that incorporate overt and covert (masked) presentations of emotional stimuli can provide complementary information about neural systems underlying emotion processing (e.g., both slow [overt] and fast [covert; automatic] processing pathways). This study examined brain activation during processing of overt and covert presentations of emotional faces in 12 women with BPD and 12 age-matched healthy controls. To assess a range of emotional valence and arousal, we examined responses to fear, happy and neutral expressions. All participants underwent an fMRI scanning session in which participants passively viewed emotional faces. Scanning sessions consisted of 5 runs including: (1) Overt Fear (OF) versus Neutral (N), (2) Covert Fear (CF) versus Covert Neutral (CN), (3) Overt Happy (OH) versus N, (4) Covert Happy (CH) versus CN, and (5) N versus fixation. We compared whole-brain activation between groups for each run. In response to overt fear, BPD patients showed greater activation both in left amygdala and in several frontal cortical regions. There were no significant differences in brain activation in response to overt happy faces. In response to covert fear and covert happy stimuli, the BPD group also showed greater activation than controls in several regions including frontal and temporal cortical regions, as well as cerebellum and thalamus. These findings add to prior reports suggesting increased amygdala activation in BPD, but we found this only in the overt fear versus fixation condition. In this sample, BPD patients showed hyper-activation, rather than hypo-activation, of cortical regulatory regions during overt fear. Enhanced cortical recruitment in response to covert fear and happy faces in BPD could reflect a more extended response system in which stimuli that typically only activate automatic pathways are additionally tapping into cortical regulatory systems. The observation of this pattern both in response to fear and in response to happy presentations suggests that the effect of arousal may be as or more impactful than the effect of emotional valence.
Article
In this chapter, we will outline how the concept of mentalizing helps us understand some of the common problems associated with borderline personality disorder and how the theoretical understanding is translated into psychotherapeutic intervention. Mentalizing is the process by which we interpret the actions of ourselves and others in terms of underlying intentional states such as personal desires, needs, feelings, beliefs and reasons. This capacity develops within the context of attachment relationships during infancy and childhood. Borderline personality disorder is conceived of as being a disorder of mentalizing. Vulnerability to a loss in mentalizing particularly in interpersonal or stressful circumstances is a core feature of the disorder. If treatment is to be successful it must either have mentalization as its focus or at the very least stimulate development of mentalizing as an epiphenomenon. Treatment focusing on mentalizing itself is described.
Article
Although emotion dysregulation has consistently been conceptualized as a core problem of borderline personality disorder (BPD), a comprehensive, and empirically and ecologically validated model that captures the exact types of dysregulation remains absent. In the present article, we combine insights from basic affective science and the biosocial theory of BPD to present a theoretical model that captures the most fundamental affective dynamical processes that underlie BPD and stipulates that individuals with BPD are characterized by more negative affective homebases, higher levels of affective variability, and lower levels of attractor strength or return to baseline. Next, we empirically validate this proposal by statistically modeling data from three electronic diary studies on emotional responses to personally relevant stimuli in personally relevant environments that were collected both from patients with BPD (N = 50, 42, and 43) and from healthy subjects (N = 50, 24, and 28). The results regarding negative affective homebases and heightened affective variabilities consistently confirmed our hypotheses across all three datasets. The findings regarding attractor strengths (i.e., return to baseline) were less consistent and of smaller magnitude. The transdiagnostic nature of our approach may help to elucidate the common and distinctive mechanisms that underlie several different disorders that are characterized by affective dysregulation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental disorder, characterized by pronounced deficits in emotion regulation, cognitive disturbances including dissociation, impulsivity, and interpersonal disturbances. Over the last decades, neuroimaging has become one of the most important methods to investigate neurobiological alterations possibly underlying core features of BPD. The aim of our article is to provide an overview of the latest neuroimaging research in BPD focusing on functional and structural MRI studies published since 2010. Findings of these studies are depicted and discussed referring to central domains of BPD psychopathology. On a neurochemical level, altered function in neurotransmitter systems including the serotonin, glutamate, and GABA systems was observed in patients with BPD. On a neural level, individuals with BPD showed structural and functional abnormalities in a fronto-limbic network including regions involved in emotion processing (e.g., amygdala, insula) and frontal brain regions implicated in regulatory control processes (e.g., anterior cingulate cortex, medial frontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Limbic hyperreactivity and diminished recruitment of frontal brain regions may yield a link between disturbed emotion processing and other core features of BPD such as impulsivity and interpersonal disturbances. To clarify whether findings are specific to BPD, comparisons with other clinical groups are needed.
Article
In the current study, we evaluated the test-retest reliability of amygdala response using an emotional face-matching task that has been widely used to examine pathophysiology and treatment mechanisms in psychiatric populations. Activation within the fusiform face area (FFA) was also examined. Twenty-seven healthy volunteers completed a variation of the face-matching paradigm developed by Hariri et al. (2000) at two time points approximately 90 days apart. Estimates of test-retest reliability of amygdala response to fearful faces were moderate, whereas angry and happy faces showed poor reliability. Test-retest reliability of the FFA was moderate to strong, regardless of facial affect. Collectively, these findings indicate that the reliability of the BOLD MR signal in the amygdala varies substantially by facial affect. Efforts to improve measurement precision, enlarge sample sizes, or increase the number of assessment occasions seem warranted.
Article
The purpose of this report is to describe the relationship between clinical rating assessments of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and regional brain metabolism as measured by positron emission tomography with fluorodeoxyglucuse-F18 (PET-FDG). Fourteen women with BPD underwent PET-FDG scanning in a medication-free state. Correlations were performed on a voxel-by-voxel basis with Buss-Durkee Hostility Index (BDHI) and the Zanarini Rating Scale for Borderline Personality Disorder (ZAN-BPD) which provides a score for BPD severity. There was a significant negative correlation between glucose metabolism in frontal brain areas and the BDHI. Correlations of brain metabolic changes and diagnostic behavioral rating scale scores (ZAN-BPD) were small and seen mostly in posterior areas. The assessment of the statistical relationship of the BDHI to brain regions was substantially more robust than the correlations of the total ZAN-BPD. This exploratory study illustrates regional metabolic values that are highly related to hostile behavior. Our findings replicate some prior studies that have identified a negative relationship between frontal metabolism and aggression in personality disorders. We have also identified a range of other areas that relate to both positive (representing increased drive) and negative (representing impaired control) hostility scores. The substantially greater correlations of the BDHI compared with the ZAN-BPD provide information about the neural underpinnings of BPD.
Article
Modern emotion theories emphasise the adaptive value of emotions. Emo- tions are by no means always helpful, however. They often must be regulated. The study of emotion regulation has its origins in the psychoanalytic and stress and coping traditions. Recently, increased interest in emotion regula- tion has led to crucial boundary ambiguities that now threaten progress in this domain. It is argued that distinctions need to be made between (1) regulation of emotion and regulation by emotion; (2) emotion regulation in self and emotion regulation in others; and (3) conscious and nonconscious emotion regulation. U sing a process model of emotion generation, this review considers promising research on basic processes and individual differences in emotion regulation and poses ® ve theoretical challenges.
Article
The neural circuits underlying emotional valence and motivated behaviors are several synapses away from both defined sensory inputs and quantifiable motor outputs. Electrophysiology has provided us with a suitable means for observing neural activity during behavior, but methods for controlling activity for the purpose of studying motivated behaviors have been inadequate: electrical stimulation lacks cellular specificity and pharmacological manipulation lacks temporal resolution. The recent emergence of optogenetic tools provides a new means for establishing causal relationships between neural activity and behavior. Optogenetics, the use of genetically-encodable light-activated proteins, permits the modulation of specific neural circuit elements with millisecond precision. The ability to control individual cell types, and even projections between distal regions, allows us to investigate functional connectivity in a causal manner. The greatest consequence of controlling neural activity with finer precision has been the characterization of individual neural circuits within anatomical brain regions as defined functional units. Within the mesolimbic dopamine system, optogenetics has helped separate subsets of dopamine neurons with distinct functions for reward, aversion and salience processing, elucidated GABA neuronal effects on behavior, and characterized connectivity with forebrain and cortical structures. Within the striatum, optogenetics has confirmed the opposing relationship between direct and indirect pathway medium spiny neurons (MSNs), in addition to characterizing the inhibition of MSNs by cholinergic interneurons. Within the hypothalamus, optogenetics has helped overcome the heterogeneity in neurotransmitter content and revealed distinct circuits mediating aggression and feeding. Within the amygdala, optogenetics has allowed the study of intra-amygdala microcircuitry as well as interconnections with distal regions involved in fear and anxiety. In this review, we will present the body of optogenetic studies that has significantly enhanced our understanding of emotional valence and motivated behaviors.
Article
[This book examines] empathy from the standpoint of contemporary social/personality psychology—emphasizing these disciplines' traditional subject matter (e.g., emotion, cognition, helping, aggression) and its research techniques (survey research, laboratory experiments). [The author's] goal was to provide a thorough, readable . . . summary of contemporary empathy research [primarily for advanced undergraduate and graduate students]. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This paper reviews and synthesizes functional imaging research that over the past decade has begun to offer new insights into the brain mechanisms underlying emotion regulation. Toward that end, the first section of the paper outlines a model of the processes and neural systems involved in emotion generation and regulation. The second section surveys recent research supporting and elaborating the model, focusing primarily on studies of the most commonly investigated strategy, which is known as reappraisal. At its core, the model specifies how prefrontal and cingulate control systems modulate activity in perceptual, semantic, and affect systems as a function of one's regulatory goals, tactics, and the nature of the stimuli and emotions being regulated. This section also shows how the model can be generalized to understand the brain mechanisms underlying other emotion regulation strategies as well as a range of other allied phenomena. The third and last section considers directions for future research, including how basic models of emotion regulation can be translated to understand changes in emotion across the life span and in clinical disorders.
Article
The authors aimed to understand the role of alexithymia in borderline personality disorder (BPD). A total of 79 BPD patients, 76 healthy controls, and 39 patients with avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) were included. Alexithymia and its influence on interpersonal functioning were assessed. The authors explored group differences in empathy in relation to interpersonal function, and they measured responses to emotional pictures with a computer task in which subjects focused either on the experience of the individual in the picture or the subject's own imagined experience. Patients with BPD and AVPD had higher alexithymia than those in the control group. Patients with BPD had more difficulty identifying their own emotions than patients with AVPD. Patients with BPD reported poorer ability to take the perspective of others, but higher distress; they showed intact "empathic concern." Differences in computer task performance were clearest during self-relevant responses to negatively valenced pictures. BPD patients are highly responsive to the feelings of others, but they are impaired in identifying/describing feelings and in taking the perspective of others.