Mentalization and the left inferior frontal gyrus and insula

Carrie J. Mcadams, Jessica A. Harper, Erin Van Enkevort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if an interpersonal attribution bias associated with self-perception, the externalizing bias, was related to neural activations during mentalization. Methods: A functional magnetic resonance imaging task involving verbal appraisals measured neural activations when thinking about oneself and others in 59 adults, including healthy women as well as women with and recovered from anorexia nervosa. Whole-brain regressions correlated brain function during mentalization with the externalizing bias measured using the Internal, Personal, and Situational Attributions Questionnaire. Results: Women with anorexia nervosa had a lower externalizing bias, demonstrating a tendency to self-attribute more negative than positive social interactions, unlike the other groups. The externalizing bias was correlated with activation of the left inferior frontal gyrus and posterior insula, when comparing thinking about others evaluating oneself with direct self-evaluation. Discussion: Externalizing biases may provide an office-based assay reflecting neurocognitive disturbances in social self-perception that are common during anorexia nervosa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018


  • anorexia nervosa
  • biological
  • neuroimaging
  • neuropsychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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