Article

The nexus between decision making and emotion regulation: a review of convergent neurocognitive substrates.

Department of Psychiatry and Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, The University of Western Ontario, Canada.
Behavioural brain research (Impact Factor: 3.22). 11/2010; 217(1):215-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.10.030
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Emotional information, such as reward or punishment, gains rapid and often preferential access to neurocognitive resources. This ability to quickly evaluate and integrate emotion-related information is thought to benefit a range of behaviours critical for survival. Conversely, the improper use of, or preoccupation with, emotional information is associated with disruptions in functioning and psychiatric disorders. Optimally, an organism utilizes emotional information when it is significant, and minimizes its influence when it is not. Recently, similar regions of prefrontal cortex have been identified that are associated with regulating both behavioural conflict (motor response selection or inhibition) and affective conflict (emotional representation and awareness). In this review, data will be examined that concerns this convergence between decision making (modulating what we do) and emotion regulation (modulating how we feel) and an informal model will be proposed linking these processes at a neurocognitive level. The studies reviewed collectively support the conclusion that overlapping areas of prefrontal cortex perform similar computations whether the functional objective is to modulate an operant response, or an emotional one. Specifically, the idea is raised that key aspects of decision making and emotion regulation are bound by a common functional objective in which internal representations of conditioned stimuli and reinforcers are modulated to facilitate optimal behaviour or states. Emphasis is placed on dorsomedial, dorsolateral, ventrolateral, and ventromedial regions of prefrontal cortex.

4 Bookmarks
 · 
300 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is preliminary evidence to suggest that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is modulated by sex steroids in humans and other primates. The current study examined whether sex differences in performance could be discerned on two working memory tasks that emphasize monitoring and updating processes, and on two tasks that engage the ventromedial PFC/orbitofrontal cortex (VMPFC/OFC). Healthy young adults (48 females; 45 males) completed the n-back, Self-Ordered Pointing (SOP), Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), and a probabilistic reversal learning task. On the IGT, males selected more cards from the advantageous decks than females. On the reversal learning task, there was no significant sex difference in acquisition of the reinforcement contingencies, but males made fewer errors than females during the reversal phase. The sexes did not differ significantly on the n-back or SOP tasks. These findings provide tentative support for the hypothesis that functions carried out by the VMPFC/OFC are sexually differentiated in humans. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Brain and Cognition 12/2014; 93C:42-53. · 2.82 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Efficient implicit emotion regulation processes, which run without awareness, are important for human well-being. In this study, to investigate the influence of implicit emotion regulation on psychological and electrophysiological responses to gains and losses, participants were required to select between two Chinese four-character idioms to match the meaning of the third one before they performed a monetary gambling task. According to whether their meanings were related to emotion regulation, the idioms fell into two categories. Event-related potentials and self-rating emotional experiences to outcome feedback were recorded during the task. Priming emotion regulation reduced subjective emotional experience to both gains and losses and the amplitudes of the feedback-related negativity, while the P3 component was not influenced. According to these results, we suggest that the application of implicit emotion regulation effectively modulated the subjective emotional experience and the motivational salience of current outcomes without the cost of cognitive resources. This study implicates the potential significance of implicit emotion regulation in decision-making processes.
    Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10/2014; · 5.88 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The down-regulation of pain through beliefs is commonly discussed as a form of emotion regulation. In line with this interpretation, the analgesic effect has been shown to co-occur with reduced anxiety and increased activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which is a key region of emotion regulation. This link between pain and anxiety modulation raises the question whether the two effects are rooted in the same neural mechanism. In this pilot fMRI study, we compared the neural basis of the analgesic and anxiolytic effect of two types of threat modulation: a "behavioral control" paradigm, which involves the ability to terminate a noxious stimulus, and a "safety signaling" paradigm, which involves visual cues that signal the threat (or absence of threat) that a subsequent noxious stimulus might be of unusually high intensity. Analgesia was paralleled by VLPFC activity during behavioral control. Safety signaling engaged elements of the descending pain control system, including the rostral anterior cingulate cortex that showed increased functional connectivity with the periaqueductal gray and VLPFC. Anxiety reduction, in contrast, scaled with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation during behavioral control but had no distinct neural signature during safety signaling. Our pilot data therefore suggest that analgesic and anxiolytic effects are instantiated in distinguishable neural mechanisms and differ between distinct stress- and pain-modulatory approaches, supporting the recent notion of multiple pathways subserving top-down modulation of the pain experience. Additional studies in larger cohorts are needed to follow up on these preliminary findings.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(12):e110654. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Full-text

Download
68 Downloads
Available from
May 20, 2014