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Altered Appetitive Conditioning and Neural Connectivity in Subjects With Compulsive Sexual Behavior

  • Tim Klucken
    Correspondence
    Corresponding Author: Tim Klucken, PhD, Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Otto-Behaghel-Str. 10 H, 35390 Giessen, Germany. Tel: +49(0)641-992-6333; Fax: +49(0)641-992-6099
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
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  • Sina Wehrum-Osinsky
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
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  • Jan Schweckendiek
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
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  • Onno Kruse
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
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  • Rudolf Stark
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany

    Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany
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Published:February 27, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2016.01.013

      Abstract

      Introduction

      There has been growing interest in a better understanding of the etiology of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). It is assumed that facilitated appetitive conditioning might be an important mechanism for the development and maintenance of CSB, but no study thus far has investigated these processes.

      Aim

      To explore group differences in neural activity associated with appetitive conditioning and connectivity in subjects with CSB and a healthy control group.

      Methods

      Two groups (20 subjects with CSB and 20 controls) were exposed to an appetitive conditioning paradigm during a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, in which a neutral stimulus (CS+) predicted visual sexual stimuli and a second stimulus (CS-) did not.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Blood oxygen level-dependent responses and psychophysiologic interaction.

      Results

      As a main result, we found increased amygdala activity during appetitive conditioning for the CS+ vs the CS- and decreased coupling between the ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex in the CSB vs control group.

      Conclusion

      The findings show that neural correlates of appetitive conditioning and neural connectivity are altered in patients with CSB. The increased amygdala activation might reflect facilitated conditioning processes in patients with CSB. In addition, the observed decreased coupling could be interpreted as a marker for impaired emotion regulation success in this group.

      Key Words

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