Perceived parenting mediates serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and neural system function during facial recognition: A pilot study

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Abstract

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.

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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

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