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Functional neuroimaging predictors of self-reported psychotic symptoms in adolescents

Bourque, Josiane; Spechler, Philip A.; Potvin, Stéphane; Whelan, Robert; Banaschewski, Tobias; Bokde, Arun L.W.; Bromberg, Uli; Büchel, Christian; Quinlan, Erin Burke; Desrivières, Sylvane; Frouin, Vincent; Gowland, Penny


Josiane Bourque

Philip A. Spechler

Stéphane Potvin

Robert Whelan

Tobias Banaschewski

Arun L.W. Bokde

Uli Bromberg

Christian Büchel

Erin Burke Quinlan

Sylvane Desrivières

Vincent Frouin


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the neural correlates of psychotic-like experiences in youth on measures of inhibitory control, reward anticipation and emotion processing. A secondary aim was to test whether these neuro-functional correlates of risk were predictive of psychotic symptoms 2 years later.
METHOD: Functional imaging response to three paradigms: the Stop-Signal, Monetary Incentive Delay, and Faces tasks was collected in youth at age 14, as part of the IMAGEN study. At baseline, youth from London and Dublin sites were assessed on psychotic-like experiences and those reporting significant experiences were compared with matched controls. Significant brain activity differences between the groups were used to predict, with cross-validation, the presence of psychotic symptoms in the context of mood fluctuation at age 16, assessed in the full sample. These prediction analyses were conducted with the London-Dublin subsample (N=246) and the full sample (N=1196).
RESULTS: Youth reporting psychotic-like experiences showed increased hippocampus/amygdala activity during neutral faces processing and reduced dorsolateral prefrontal activity during failed inhibition relative to controls. The most prominent region for classifying 16-year olds with mood fluctuation and psychotic symptoms relative to the control groups (those with mood fluctuations but no psychotic symptoms and those with no mood symptoms) included hyperactivation of the hippocampus/amygdala, when controlling for baseline psychotic-like experiences and cannabis use.
CONCLUSIONS: The results stress the importance of the limbic network’s increased response to neutral facial stimuli as a marker of the extended psychosis phenotype. These findings might help to guide early intervention strategies for at-risk youth.


Bourque, J., Spechler, P. A., Potvin, S., Whelan, R., Banaschewski, T., Bokde, A. L., …Gowland, P. (2017). Functional neuroimaging predictors of self-reported psychotic symptoms in adolescents. American Journal of Psychiatry, 174(6),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2017
Online Publication Date Mar 21, 2017
Publication Date Jun 1, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 21, 2017
Journal American Journal of Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0002-953X
Electronic ISSN 1535-7228
Publisher American Psychiatric Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 174
Issue 6
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information 27 authors in total, and the IMAGEN Consortium
The official published article is available online at


Predictors_emerging_psychotic_experiences_AJP.pdf (456 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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