The nested hierarchical model of self and its non-relational vs relational posttraumatic manifestation: an fMRI meta-analysis of emotional processing

Andrea Scalabrini, Marco Cavicchioli, Francesco Benedetti, Clara Mucci, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Different kinds of traumatic experiences like natural catastrophes vs. relational traumatic experiences (e.g., sex/physical abuse, interpersonal partner violence) are involved in the development of the self and PTSD psychopathological manifestations. Looking at a neuroscience approach, it has been proposed a nested hierarchical model of self, which identifies three neural-mental networks: (i) interoceptive; (ii) exteroceptive; (iii) mental. However, it is still unclear how the self and its related brain networks might be affected by non-relational vs relational traumatic experiences. Departing from this background, the current study aims at conducting a meta-analytic review of task-dependent fMRI studies (i.e., emotional processing task) among patients with PTSD due to non-relational (PTSD-NR) and relational (PTSD-R) traumatic experiences using two approaches: (i) a Bayesian network meta-analysis for a region-of-interest–based approach; (ii) a coordinated-based meta-analysis. Our findings suggested that the PTSD-NR mainly recruited areas ascribed to the mental self to process emotional stimuli. Whereas, the PTSD-R mainly activated regions associated with the intero-exteroceptive self. Accordingly, the PTSD-R compared to the PTSD-NR might not reach a higher symbolic capacity to process stimuli with an emotional valence. These results are also clinically relevant in support of the development of differential treatment approaches for non-relational vs. relational PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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