Dispositional anxiety is a stable personality trait that is a key risk factor for internalizing disorders, and understanding the neural correlates of trait anxiety may help us better understand the development of these disorders. Abnormal cortical folding is thought to reflect differences in cortical connectivity occurring during brain development. Therefore, assessing gyrification may advance understanding of cortical development and organization associated with trait anxiety. Previous literature has revealed structural abnormalities in trait anxiety and related disorders, but no study to our knowledge has examined gyrification in trait anxiety. We utilized a relatively novel measure, the local gyrification index (LGI), to explore differences in gyrification as a function of trait anxiety. We obtained structural MRI scans using a 3T magnetic resonance scanner on 113 young adults. Results indicated a negative correlation between trait anxiety and LGI in the left superior parietal cortex, specifically the precuneus, reflecting less cortical complexity among those high on trait anxiety. Our findings suggest that aberrations in cortical gyrification in a key region of the default mode network is a correlate of trait anxiety and may reflect disrupted local parietal connectivity.
Inflated and pial surface maps of the left hemisphere demonstrating decreased gyrification in the precuneus as a function of trait anxiety.There was no relationship between anxiety and gyrification in the right hemisphere. Images on the left depict the medial view of the left hemisphere. Images on the right are a view from the top of the right hemisphere and are tilted 30 degrees to provide a better angle for viewing the cluster extent.