Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is associated with aberrant self-referential processing (SRP) such as increased self-focused attention. Aberrant SRP is one of the core features of SAD and is also related to therapeutic interventions. Understanding of the underlying neural correlates of SRP in SAD is important for identifying specific brain regions as treatment targets. We reviewed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies to clarify the neural correlates of SRP and their clinical implications for SAD. Task-based and resting fMRI studies have reported the cortical midline structures including the default mode network, theory of mind-related regions of the temporo-parietal junction and temporal pole, and the insula as significant neural correlates of aberrant SRP in SAD patients. Also, these neural correlates are related to clinical improvement on pharmacological and cognitive-behavioral treatments. Furthermore, these could be candidates for the development of novel SAD treatments. This review supports that neural correlates of SAD may be significant biomarkers for future pathophysiology based treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Pharmacology (medical)