In Brief: Brain pathways to fear

In Brief

Brain pathways to fear

Published: April, 2006

A brain imaging study of people with the disorder known as Williams syndrome contributes to the understanding of human emotional processes by targeting a distinct circuit that governs anxiety associated with social situations.

Williams syndrome is a genetic disorder with symptoms that include unusual friendliness, empathy, and lack of social anxiety. People with the disorder are socially uninhibited and poor at reading social cues; for example, they often approach strangers and start conversations. But they are more susceptible than average to other kinds of anxiety and phobias.

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