Российский психологический журнал (Sep 2018)

Features of the evoked brain activity in female carriers of different MAOA -uVNTR genotypes when assessing emotionally charged scenes

  • Pavel N. Ermakov,
  • Ekaterina М. Kovsh,
  • Elena V. Vorobyeva

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 4
pp. 232 – 253


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Studying the correlation between the characteristics of the structure of genes and the parameters of the evoked brain activity is a relevant problem of modern research. It is known that the MAOA gene, which influences the concentration of such neurotransmitters-monoamines as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, is associated with different psychological characteristics. However, very little is known about the association of this gene with psycho-physiological indices. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the characteristics of amplitude and spatial-temporal characteristics of the evoked brain activity in girls (at the age from 18 to 24) who were carriers of different MAOA genotypes. According to the results of genotyping, the participants (61 persons) were divided into two groups: with the high-activity and heterozygous MAOA -uVNTR genotypes. In the study the authors recorded visual evoked potentials in 64 derivations. Emotionally charged and neutral images were stimuli in the study. The paper describes modern views on the correlation between MAOA genotypes and the features of cortico-limbic interaction. The results of the study showed that the heterozygous genotypes were apparently associated with lesser efficiency of regulating functions. To activate neural systems of the frontal divisions the female carriers of the heterozygous genotypes of MAOA needed the stimuli with a high arousal effect; this can be connected with a less efficient process of selecting relevant stimuli. At the same time, the high-activity MAOA genotypes in women are probably associated with high efficiency of controlling functions (attention, planning, control) of the prefrontal cortex when assessing emotionally charged images, which is accompanied by the intensity of activation of these brain structures.