How to Regulate Emotion? Neural Networks for Reappraisal and Distraction

Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
Cerebral Cortex (Impact Factor: 8.67). 11/2010; 21(6):1379-88. DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhq216
Source: PubMed


The regulation of emotion is vital for adaptive behavior in a social environment. Different strategies may be adopted to achieve successful emotion regulation, ranging from attentional control (e.g., distraction) to cognitive change (e.g., reappraisal). However, there is only scarce evidence comparing the different regulation strategies with respect to their neural mechanisms and their effects on emotional experience. We, therefore, directly compared reappraisal and distraction in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study with emotional pictures. In the distraction condition participants performed an arithmetic task, while they reinterpreted the emotional situation during reappraisal to downregulate emotional intensity. Both strategies were successful in reducing subjective emotional state ratings and lowered activity in the bilateral amygdala. Direct contrasts, however, showed a stronger decrease in amygdala activity for distraction when compared with reappraisal. While both strategies relied on common control areas in the medial and dorsolateral prefrontal and inferior parietal cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex was selectively activated for reappraisal. In contrast, the dorsal anterior cingulate and large clusters in the parietal cortex were active in the distraction condition. Functional connectivity patterns of the amygdala activation confirmed the roles of these specific activations for the 2 emotion regulation strategies.


Available from: Philipp Kanske
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    • "Studies have shown that such cognitive tasks reduced emotional responses as well as corresponding neural activity elicited by the emotional stimuli (e.g., McRae et al., 2010; Kanske et al., 2011). More importantly, some studies found that cognitive tasks performed during expectation of emotional stimuli reduced the processing of expectation (Del Percio et al., 2006; Erk et al., 2006; Kalisch et al., 2006; Kanske et al., 2010). However, it is as yet unknown whether cognitive tasks during expectation change the perception of emotionally incongruent as compared to congruent stimuli. "
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    ABSTRACT: Expectancy congruency has been shown to modulate event-related potentials (ERPs) to emotional stimuli, such as facial expressions. However, it is unknown whether the congruency ERP effects to facial expressions can be modulated by cognitive manipulations during stimulus expectation. To this end, electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded while participants viewed (neutral and fearful) facial expressions. Each trial started with a cue, predicting a facial expression, followed by an expectancy interval without any cues and subsequently the face. In half of the trials, participants had to solve a cognitive task in which different letters were presented for target letter detection during the expectancy interval. Furthermore, facial expressions were congruent with the cues in 75% of all trials. ERP results revealed that for fearful faces, the cognitive task during expectation altered the congruency effect in N170 amplitude; congruent compared to incongruent fearful faces evoked larger N170 in the non-task condition but the congruency effect was not evident in the task condition. Regardless of facial expression, the congruency effect was generally altered by the cognitive task during expectation in P3 amplitude; the amplitudes were larger for incongruent compared to congruent faces in the non-task condition but the congruency effect was not shown in the task condition. The findings indicate that cognitive tasks during expectation reduce the processing of expectation and subsequently, alter congruency ERP effects to facial expressions.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 10/2015; 9. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2015.00596 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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    • "In seeming contrast with the notion that right prefrontal activity mediates emotions like disgust, fear, and sadness, which are associated with withdrawal (Coan et al., 2001; Dawson et al., 1992), we found that increased right frontal delta synchronisation correlates with increased positive mood after MS induction (Fig. 8, left) and individuals' disposition to high self-esteem (Fig. 8, right). However, it is worth noting that the observed frontal delta ERS may reflect an inhibitory down-regulation of negative affect (Kanske et al., 2011; Ochsner et al., 2004) that counteracts (Taylor et al., 2008) by prompting approachmotivation-related coping strategies, ultimately enhancing positive affect (according to both proximal and distal mechanisms). It is well known that slow EEG activity in the delta range contributes to the generation of classical nociceptive-related vertex responses (Chen et al., 1989; Mouraux et al., 2003), associated with the basic characterisation of salience and threat value of the nociceptive stimulus (Garcia-Larrea et al., 1997, 2003; Ronga et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Social psychology studies show that awareness of one's eventual death profoundly influences human cognition and behaviour by inducing defensive reactions against end-of-life-related anxiety. Much less is known about the impact of reminders of mortality on brain activity. Here we tested whether reminders of mortality can induce a modulation of the slow electroencephalographic activity triggered by somatosensory nociceptive or auditory threatening stimulation and if this modulation is related to mood and anxiety as well as personality traits. We found a specific slow wave (SW) modulation only for nociceptive stimulation and only following mortality salience induction (compared to reminders of an important failed exam). The enhancement of SW negativity at the scalp vertex was associated with increased state anxiety and negative mood, whereas higher self-esteem was associated with reduced SW amplitude. In addition, mortality salience was linked to an increased amplitude of frontal delta band, which was correlated also with increased positive mood and higher self-esteem. The results indicate that SW and delta spectral activity may represent both proximal and distal defences associated with reminders of death and that neurophysiological correlates of somatosensory representation of painful and threatening stimuli may be useful for existential neuroscience studies. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    NeuroImage 07/2015; 120. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.07.025 · 6.36 Impact Factor
    • "Therefore, L amygdala activity needed to be determined first (obtaining the physiological variable from a seed), and a test whether activity of the R IFG correlates with modulation of this L amygdala activity was performed. This approach is consistent with previous research (Banks et al., 2007; Foland et al., 2008; Kanske et al., 2011; Payer et al., 2012; Townsend et al., 2013) that was conducted with L amygdala-seeded connectivity analysis to examine whether modulations in L amygdala activity and emotional reactivity are associated with frontal activity during an emotion regulation task. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acute antidepressant administration modulates neural activity consistent with decreases in negative emotion processing bias. However, studies are yet to examine whether treatment facilitates neural activity during reappraisal, an adaptive emotion regulation strategy associated with behavioral treatment response. Here we examine the impact of acute administration on reappraisal of negative stimuli using pharmaco-fMRI. Thirty-six healthy female participants completed two sessions of fMRI scanning, separated by a one-week washout period. A single dose of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, escitalopram (20mg) was administered to participants using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover design. When participants were administered escitalopram (relative to a placebo) and asked to reappraise negative emotional stimuli, left amygdala activation was decreased and right inferior frontal gyrus (R IFG) activation was increased. Also observed was a greater negative left amygdala-R IFG functional connectivity when participants were administered escitalopram relative to placebo, and this change in connectivity was associated with reductions in subjective ratings of valence and arousal of negative stimuli. Further analysis revealed connectivity modulation across multiple frontal regions. Results suggest that the acute effect of a commonly prescribed antidepressant may include facilitating the regulation of negative emotional stimuli, providing new important leads for models of antidepressant action. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    07/2015; 233(3). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2015.07.018
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