Polygenic risk for neuroticism is associated with less efficient control in more difficult situations.

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DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2023.111716


Neuroticism is a heritable trait and a risk factor for mental health due to its relevance to poor control of negative events. To examine the relationship between genetic propensity for neuroticism and control processing, we used the polygenic risk score (PRS) approach and a stop signal task during fMRI. We hypothesized that genetic propensity for neuroticism may moderate control processing as a function of control difficulty. PRSs for neuroticism were computed from a transdiagnostic group of individuals (n=406) who completed the stop signal task. The level of control difficulty was a function of the stop signal asynchrony: shorter asynchrony allows easier stopping whereas longer asynchrony makes stopping difficult. The relationship between PRS for neuroticism and neural activity for controlling responses was examined by the stop signal asynchrony. Although PRS for neuroticism did not relate to the overall inhibitory control, individuals with high PRS for neuroticism showed greater activity in left dorsal prefrontal cortex, middle temporal gyrus, and dorsal posterior cingulate cortex for difficult control. Thus, the genetic propensity for neuroticism affects neural processing in a difficult control context, which may help to explain why individuals with high levels of neuroticism exert poor control of negative events in difficult situations.

Journal Title

Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging



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MeSH Keywords

Humans; Neuroticism; Prefrontal Cortex; Gyrus Cinguli; Risk Factors


Cognitive control; Genetic risk; Neuroticism; Stop signal task; fMRI

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