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Neural Basis of Personality and Psychopathology

Woodward_AJP 2011_DA and schizotypal traits_2Personality traits are often related to psychopathology- some psychiatric disorders may represent the extreme end of a continuum of personality traits.  For example, schizotypal personality traits are like the symptoms in schizophrenia, but in a much weaker form. Even healthy people without a psychiatric illness might feel paranoid at times, experience excessive social anxiety, or report unusual perceptual experiences, such as feeling the presence of “spirits.” These phenomena are not uncommon and there is normal variation in the degree to which people have these thoughts and experiences.  In collaboration with Dr. David Zald in the Department of Psychology, we found that normal variation in schizotypal traits is associated with dopamine signaling in the brain. Combined with the findings in patients with schizophrenia, our data suggest that there may be a continuum between dopamine and schizotypal traits/schizophrenia symptoms.  We have also assisted on several additional studies looking at the relationship between dopamine function and psychopathic personality traits, impulsivity, and cognitive flexibility.

Representative Publications:

Brosey EA, Woodward ND.  (2017)  Neuroanatomical correlates of perceptual aberrations in psychosis.  Schiz. Res., 179:125-131. [PubMed Link]

Brosey ES, Woodward ND. (2015) Schizotypy and clinical symptoms, cognitive function, and quality of life in individuals with a psychotic disorder.  Schiz. Res., 166(1-3):92-7.[PubMed Link]

Woodward ND, Cowan RL, Park S, Ansari MS, Baldwin RM, Li R, Doop M, Kessler RM, Zald DH. (2011) Correlation of individual differences in schizotypal personality traits with amphetamine-induced dopamine release in stratal and extrastriatal brain regions. Am. J. Psychiatry, 168(4):418-426. [PubMed Link]

Samanez-Larkin GR, Buckholtz JW, Cowan RL, Woodward ND, Li R, Ansari MS, Arrington CM, Baldwin RM, Smith CE, Treadwa MT, Kessler RM, Zald DH. (2013) A Thalamocorticostriatal Dopamine Network for Psychostimulant-Enchanced Human Cognitive Flexibility. Biol Psychiatry, 74(2):99-105.[PubMed Link]

Buckholtz JW, Treadway MT, Cowan RL, Woodward ND, Li R, Ansari MS, Baldwin RM, Schwartzman AN, Shelby ES, Smith CE, Kessler RM, Zald DH. (2010) Dopaminergic network mechanisms for differences in human impulsivity. Science, 329(5991):532.[PubMed Link]

Buckholtz JW, Treadway MT, Cowan RL, Woodward ND, Benning SD, Li R, Ansari MS, Baldwin RM, Schwartzman AN, Shelby ES, Smith CE, Cole D, Kessler RM, Zald DH. (2010) Mesolimbic dopamine reward system hypersensitivity in individuals with psychopathic traits. Nature Neuroscience, 13(4): 419-421.
[PubMed Link]

Zald DH, Woodward ND, Riccardi P, Ansari MS, Baldwin R, Cowan RL, Smith CE, Hakyemez H, Li R, Kessler RM. (2010) The interrelationship of dopamine D2-like receptor binding in striatal and extrastriatal brain regions in healthy humans. Neuroimage, 51(1): 53-62.
[PubMed Link]

Kessler RM, Woodward ND, Riccardi P, Li R, Ansari MS, Anderson S, Dawant B, Zald DH, Meltzer HY. (2009) Dopamine D2 receptor levels in striatum, thalamus, substantia nigra, limbic regions, and cortex in schizophrenia subjects. Biological Psychiatry, 65(12): 1024-1031 [PubMed Link]

Woodward ND, Zald DH, Li R, Ding Z, Riccardi P, Ansari MS, Dawant B, Anderson S, Baldwin R, Kessler RM. (2009) Cerebral morphology and dopamine D2/D3 receptor distribution in humans: A combined [18F]fallypride and voxel-based morphometry study. Neuroimage, 46(1): 31-38.[PubMed Link]

Riccardi P, Li R, Ansari MS, Zald DH, Park S, Dawant B, Anderson S, Woodward ND, Schmidt D, Baldwin R, Kessler RM. (2006) Amphetamine induced displacement of [18F] Fallypride in striatum and extratstriatal brain regions. Neuropsychopharmacology, 31(5): 1016-1026[PubMed Link]

Riccardi P, Zald DH, Li R, Park S, Ansari MS, Dawant B, Anderson S, Woodward ND, Schmidt D, Baldwin R, Kessler R. (2006) Sex differences in amphetamine induced displacement of [18F] Fallypride in striatal and extratstriatal regions: a PET study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 163(9): 1639-1641
[PubMed Link]