Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
The right hemisphere of the human brain is known to be involved in processes underlying emotion and social cognition. Clinical neuropsychology investigations and brain lesion studies have linked a number of personality and social disorders to abnormal white matter (WM) integrity in the right hemisphere. Here, we tested the hypothesis that interpersonal competencies are associated with integrity of WM tracts in the right hemisphere of healthy young adults. Thirty-one participants underwent diffusion tensor imaging scanning. Fractional anisotropy was used to quantify water diffusion. After the scanning session, participants completed the Adolescent Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire. Fractional anisotropy was subsequently correlated with Adolescent Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire scores using tract-based spatial statistics. Higher interpersonal competencies are related to higher WM integrity in several major tracts of the right hemisphere, in specific the uncinate fasciculus, the cingulum, the forceps minor, the infero-fronto occipital fasciculus, the inferior longitudinal fasciculus, and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. These results provide the first direct analysis of the neuroanatomical basis of interpersonal competencies and young adult self-reported skills in social contexts.