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Brain structural correlates of cognitive-attentional syndrome – a Voxel-Based Morphometry Study

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Cognitive-attentional syndrome (CAS) is in the self-regulatory executive function model a set of cognitive and behavioural strategies aimed at regulating cognition and emotion originating from maladaptive metacognitive beliefs. Investigating the brain structure of people with high levels of CAS enables a better understanding of the syndrome and bridging between the metacognitive model of psychopathology and previous results on structural abnormalities in various psychological disorders. Participants with high (n=40) and low levels of CAS (n=44) underwent structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging session. Voxel-Based Morphometry analytical approach was used to compute grey matter volume (GMV) differences between the groups. The group with a high level of CAS had lower GMV in the dorsal part of the anterior cingulate cortex. Our results are in line with the self-regulatory executive function model of psychopathology, showing a link between CAS and lowered GMV in the brain region associated with the regulation of cognition and emotion. They are also in agreement with meta-analytical results on structural correlates of various psychological disorders.

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The authors were financed by the Polish National Science Centre OPUS grant 2015/17/B/HS6/04157. The project was realised with the aid of CePT research infrastructure purchased with funds from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Innovative Economy Operational Programme, 2007–2013.

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JK wrote the initial draft of the manuscript. JK, MW, AM, and MD wrote the manuscript. JK and MD conducted the research. JK, AM and MW analysed the MRI data. MW and AM supervised the MRI part of the study. MD supervised the research and analyses.

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Correspondence to Joachim Kowalski.

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Kowalski, J., Wypych, M., Marchewka, A. et al. Brain structural correlates of cognitive-attentional syndrome – a Voxel-Based Morphometry Study. Brain Imaging and Behavior 16, 1914–1918 (2022).

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