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Behavioral, Anatomical and Genetic Convergence of Affect and Cognition in Superior Frontal Cortex

By Nevena Kraljevic, H. Lina Schaare, Simon B. Eickhoff, Peter Kochunov, B.T. Thomas Yeo, Shahrzad Kharabian Masouleh, Sofie L. Valk

Posted 03 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.03.401414

Affective experience and cognitive abilities are key human traits that are interrelated in behavior and brain. Individual variation of affective and cognitive traits, as well as brain structure, has been shown to partly underlie genetic effects. However, to what extent affect and cognition have a shared genetic relationship with local brain structure is incompletely understood. Here we studied phenotypic and genetic correlations of cognitive and affective traits in behavior and brain structure (cortical thickness, surface area and subcortical volumes) in the twin-based Human Connectome Project sample (N = 1091). Both affective and cognitive trait scores were highly heritable and showed significant phenotypic correlation on the behavioral level. Cortical thickness in the left superior frontal cortex showed a phenotypic association with both affect and cognition, which was driven by shared genetic effects. Quantitative functional decoding of this region yielded associations with cognitive and emotional functioning. This study provides a multi-level approach to study the association between affect and cognition and suggests a convergence of both in superior frontal cortical thickness.

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