This study examined changes in prefrontal oxy-Hb levels measured by NIRS (Near-Infrared Spectroscopy) during a facial-emotion recognition task in healthy adults, testing a mediational/moderational model of these variables. Fifty-three healthy adults (male = 35, female = 18) aged between 22 to 37 years old (mean age = 24.05 years old) provided saliva samples, completed a EMBU questionnaire (Swedish acronym for Egna Minnen Beträffande Uppfostran [My memories of upbringing]), and participated in a facial-emotion recognition task during NIRS recording. There was a main effect of maternal rejection on RoxH (right frontal activation during an ambiguous task), and a gene × environment (G×E) interaction on Rox H, suggesting that individuals who carry the SL or LL genotype and who endorse greater perceived maternal rejection show less right frontal activation than SL/LL carriers with lower perceived maternal rejection. Finally, perceived parenting style played a mediating role in right frontal activation via the 5-HTTLPR genotype. Early-perceived parenting might influence neural activity in an uncertain situation i.e. rating ambiguous faces among individuals with certain genotypes. This preliminary study makes a small contribution to the mapping of an influence of gene and behaviour on the neural system. More such attempts should be made in order to clarify the links.
Nishikawa, S., Toshima, T., & Kobayashi, M. (2015). Perceived parenting mediates serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and neural system function during facial recognition: A pilot study. PLoS ONE, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0134685