Introduction: Patients with schizophrenia often have impaired cognition and abnormal conflict control. Conflict control is influenced by the emotional values of stimuli. This study investigated the neural basis of negative emotion interference with conflict control in schizophrenia. Methods: Seventeen patients with schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing the emotional Simon task, in which positive or negative emotional pictures were located in congruent or incongruent positions. Analysis was focused on identifying brain regions with the significant interaction among group, emotion, and conflict in whole brain voxel-wise analysis, and abnormality in their functional connectivity in the patient group. Results: The regions showing the targeted interaction was the right amygdala, which exhibited significantly reduced activity in the negative congruent (t = −2.168, p = 0.036) and negative incongruent (t = −3.273, p = 0.002) conditions in patients versus controls. The right amygdala also showed significantly lower connectivity with the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in the cognitive and emotional loading contrast (negative incongruent—positive congruent) in patients versus controls (t = −5.154, p < 0.01), but not in the cognitive-only or emotional-only loading contrast. Conclusions: These results suggest that negative emotion interferes with cognitive conflict resolution in patients with schizophrenia due to amygdala–dorsolateral prefrontal cortex disconnection. Based on these findings, interventions targeting conflict control under negative emotional influence may promote cognitive rehabilitation in patients with schizophrenia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience