Sturm-Roy-2020

Authors: Virginia E. Sturm, Ashlin R.K. Roy, Samir Datta, Cheng Wang, Isabel J. Sible, Sarah R. Holley, Christa Watson, Eleanor R. Palser, Nathaniel A. Morris, Giovanni Battistella, Esther Rah, Marita Meyer, Mikhail Pakvasa, Maria Luisa Mandelli, et al..

Article: Enhanced visceromotor emotional reactivity in dyslexia and its relation to salience network connectivity.

Publication: Cortex (Elsevier). 2020 | DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.10.022

Highlights

Autonomic reactivity and facial behavior during emotions are elevated in dyslexia.
Emotional  reactivity relates to stronger salience network hubs connectivity.
Emotional reactivity correlates with greater social skills, anxiety, and depression.

Abstract

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder mainly defined by reading difficulties. During reading, individuals with dyslexia exhibit hypoactivity in left-lateralized language systems. Lower activity in one brain circuit can be accompanied by greater activity in another, and, here, we examined whether right-hemisphere-based emotional reactivity may be elevated in dyslexia. We measured emotional reactivity (i.e., facial behavior, physiological activity, and subjective experience) in 54 children ages 7-12 with (n = 32) and without (n = 22) dyslexia while they viewed emotion-inducing film clips. Participants also underwent task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging. Parents of children with dyslexia completed the Behavior Assessment System for Children, which assesses real-world behavior. During film viewing, children with dyslexia exhibited significantly greater reactivity in emotional facial behavior, skin conductance level, and respiration rate than those without dyslexia. Across the sample, greater emotional facial behavior correlated with stronger connectivity between right ventral anterior insula and right pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pFWE<.05), key salience network hubs. In children with dyslexia, greater emotional facial behavior related to better real-world social skills and higher anxiety and depression. Our findings suggest there is heightened visceromotor emotional reactivity in dyslexia, which may lead to interpersonal strengths as well as affective vulnerabilities.

Tagged as: emotional reactivity and right hemisphere

Citation:

Virginia E. Sturm, Ashlin R.K. Roy, Samir Datta, Cheng Wang, Isabel J. Sible, Sarah R. Holley, Christa Watson, Eleanor R. Palser, Nathaniel A. Morris, Giovanni Battistella, Esther Rah, Marita Meyer, Mikhail Pakvasa, Maria Luisa Mandelli, Jessica Deleon, Fumiko Hoeft, Eduardo Caverzasi, Zachary A. Miller, Kevin A. Shapiro, Robert Hendren, Bruce L. Miller, Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini,
Enhanced visceromotor emotional reactivity in dyslexia and its relation to salience network connectivity,
Cortex, 2020
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.10.022

Excerpts from Full Text / Notes:
Language and emotions have long been associated with opposing hemispheres of the brain: while the left hemisphere is crucial for language, the right hemisphere plays a dominant role in emotion generation and recognition.
In dyslexia, there is some indication that diminished functioning in language systems in the left hemisphere is accompanied by accentuated functioning in emotion systems in the right. In addition to hypoactivity in left hemisphere language systems during phonological processing tasks, for example, individuals with dyslexia exhibit hyperactivity in right hemisphere regions that promote emotions including the anterior insula and thalamus.
In the present study, we investigated whether children with phonological dyslexia have enhanced emotional reactivity. Children with and without dyslexia underwent a laboratory-based assessment of emotion and “resting state,” task-free functional magnetic resonance imaging (tffMRI). Parents of children with dyslexia also reported on their child’s real-world social behavior, mood, and anxiety. To measure emotional reactivity, participants viewed five film clips that
elicited specific positive and negative emotions while facial behavior and physiological activity were recorded continuously.
We found evidence for elevated visceromotor emotional reactivity in dyslexia. While viewing emotion-eliciting film clips, children with dyslexia exhibited greater reactivity in
emotional facial behavior, skin conductance level, and respiration rate than children without dyslexia.

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