Altered Appetitive Conditioning and Neural Connectivity in Subjects With Compulsive Sexual Behavior


Klucken, Tim; Wehrum-Osinsky, Sina; Schweckendiek, Jan; Kruse, Onno; and Stark, Rudolf


2016 in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Vol. 13 (4), pp. 627-636

  • This study found that neural correlates of appetitive conditioning and neural connectivity are altered in patients with compulsive sexual behavior and that these are a marker for impaired emotion regulation.
Introduction: There has been growing interest in a better understanding of the etiology of compulsive sexual behavior (CSB). It is assumed that facilitated appetitive conditioning might be an important mechanism for the development and maintenance of CSB, but no study thus far has investigated these processes. Aim: To explore group differences in neural activity associated with appetitive conditioning and connectivity in subjects with CSB and a healthy control group.

Methods: Two groups (20 subjects with CSB
  • "Regarding group differences, subjects with CSB displayed increased hemodynamic responses for CS+ vs CS− in the amygdala compared with controls. This finding is in line with a recent meta-analysis that showed that amygdala activation is often increased in patients with addiction disorders compared with controls37 and for other psychiatric disorders, which are discussed in context of CSB. Remarkably, the meta-analysis also provided evidence that the amygdala might play a significant role for craving in patients."
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