Public Defence: Natalia Tesli

MSc Natalia Tesli at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Imaging violence in psychosis: Using MRI to investigate neurobiological correlates of violence in psychotic disorders” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

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Due to copyright reasons, an electronic copy of the thesis must be ordered from the faculty. In order for the faculty to have time to process the order, it must be received by the faculty no later than 2 days prior to the public defence. Orders received later than 2 days before the defence will not be processed. Inquiries regarding the thesis after the public defence must be addressed to the candidate.

Trial Lecture – time and place

See Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Bjørn Ebdrup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Second opponent: Associate Professor Märta Wallinus, Lund University, Sweden
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Anita Johanna Tørmoen, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Pål Zeiner, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Unn Kristin Hansen Haukvik, University of Oslo


Individuals suffering from psychotic disorders have been shown to have an increased life-time risk of committing acts of violence compared to the general population. While brain structural abnormalities have been extensively investigated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) both in individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders and in individuals characterised by antisocial behaviour, there is a paucity of studies that looked into putative MRI-based neurobiological correlates of violence in psychosis.

The overarching aim of this doctoral thesis was to identify MRI-based neurobiological correlates of violence in patients with psychotic disorders by probing whole-brain white matter (WM) microstructure and measuring volumes of two limbic structures involved in regulation and processing of emotions, the amygdala and hippocampus.

The subject sample included psychosis patients with a history of violence, non-violent psychosis patients, non-psychotic violent offenders as well as healthy control participants. Structural T1-weighted and diffusion-weighted MRI data were acquired on a 3T scanner.

The results from article 1 revealed widespread WM abnormalities in psychosis patients with and without a history of violence compared with healthy control subjects, whereas the results from article 2 showed lower volumes in several amygdala and hippocampal subregions in psychosis patients with a history of violence compared with healthy control subjects. Further, article 3 revealed global WM microstructural deficits in psychosis patients with versus without a history of violence. Moreover, a supplementary finding from article 3 was a similar level of psychopathy scores in violent individuals with and without psychosis. These scores were associated with WM microstructural abnormalities in the corpus callosum.

Taken together, these findings provide novel yet preliminary insights into the underlying neurobiological abnormalities associated with violence in psychosis.

Additional information

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Published Apr. 21, 2022 12:15 PM - Last modified May 4, 2022 8:51 AM