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Amygdala reactivity in ethnic minorities and its relationship to the social environment: an fMRI study

McCutcheon, R, Bloomfield, MAP, Dahoun, T, Quinlan, M, Terbeck, S, Mehta, M and Howes, O (2018) Amygdala reactivity in ethnic minorities and its relationship to the social environment: an fMRI study. Psychological Medicine, 48 (12). pp. 1985-1992. ISSN 0033-2917

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Background: Ethnic minority individuals have an increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder, particularly if they live in areas of ethnic segregation, or low own group ethnic density. The neurobiological mechanisms underlying this ethnic minority associated risk are unknown. We used functional MRI to investigate neural responses to faces of different ethnicity, in individuals of black ethnicity, and a control group of white British ethnicity individuals.
Methods: In total 20 individuals of black ethnicity, and 22 individuals of white British ethnicity underwent a 3T MRI scan while viewing faces of black and white ethnicity. Own group ethnic density was calculated from the 2011 census. Neighbourhood segregation was quantified using the Index of Dissimilarity method.
Results: At the within-group level, both groups showed greater right amygdala activation to outgroup faces. Between groups, the black ethnicity group showed greater right amygdala activation to white faces, compared to the white ethnicity group. Within the black ethnicity group, individuals living in areas of lower own group ethnic density showed greater right amygdala reactivity to white faces (r = −0.61, p = 0.01).
Conclusions: This is the first time an increased amygdala response to white faces has been demonstrated in individuals of black ethnicity. In the black ethnicity group, correlations were observed between amygdala response and neighbourhood variables associated with increased psychosis risk. These results may have relevance for our understanding of the increased rates of paranoia and psychotic disorders in ethnic minority individuals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology, 1117 Public Health and Health Services, 1109 Neurosciences
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 04 Sep 2019 10:32
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 08:55
DOI or Identification number: 10.1017/S0033291717003506
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11292

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