Guilt In Depression Has Different Brain Response, Suggesting Freud Was Right

The brains of people with depression, even in remission, respond differently to feelings of guilt, suggesting Freud was right, said researchers from the University of Manchester in the UK who compared magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of people with a history ofdepressionĀ to those of people who had never had it. If further tests prove successful, they suggest the finding could lead to the first brain scan marker for future risk of depression. The new study, part-funded by the Medical Research Council was published on 4 June in an online-first issue of theĀ Archives of General Psychiatry. It is the first piece of research to show there is a brain mechanism behind Freud's classical idea that depression differs from normal sadness by proneness to exaggerated feelings of guilt or self-blame. Dr Roland Zahn, from the University's School of Psychological Sciences, told the press: "For the first time, we chart the regions of the brain that interact to link detailed knowledge about socially appropriate behavior - the anterior temporal lobe - with feelings of guilt - the subgenual region of the brain - in people who are prone to depression." For their study, Zahn and colleagues took fMRI scans of people while they imagined themselves or their best friend acting badly (eg in a mean, tactless or bossy way) towards others, and said what they felt, for instance, guilt, shame, contempt, or disgust, and whether this was toward self or another. The participants were 25 people who had been in remission from depression for over a year (16 of whom were not currently taking anti-depressants), and 22 healthy volunteers with no history...
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