Dissociable recruitment of rostral anterior cingulate and inferior frontal cortex in emotional response inhibition.

Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.25). 06/2008; 42(2):988-97. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.04.248
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The integrity of decision-making under emotionally evocative circumstances is critical to navigating complex environments, and dysfunctions in these processes may play an important role in the emergence and maintenance of various psychopathologies. The goal of the present study was to examine the spatial and temporal dynamics of neural responses to emotional stimuli and emotion-modulated response inhibition. High-density event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were measured as participants (N=25) performed an emotional Go/NoGo task that required button presses to words of a "target" emotional valence (i.e., positive, negative, neutral) and response inhibition to words of a different "distractor" valence. Using scalp ERP analyses in conjunction with source-localization techniques, we identified distinct neural responses associated with affective salience and affect-modulated response inhibition, respectively. Both earlier (approximately 300 ms) and later (approximately 700 ms) ERP components were enhanced with successful response inhibition to emotional distractors. Only ERPs to target stimuli differentiated affective from neutral cues. Moreover, source localization analyses revealed right ventral lateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activation in affective response inhibition regardless of emotional valence, whereas rostral anterior cingulate activation (rACC) was potentiated by emotional valence but was not modulated by response inhibition. This dissociation was supported by a significant Region x Trial Type x Emotion interaction, confirming that distinct regional dynamics characterize neural responses to affective valence and affective response-inhibition. The results are discussed in the context of an emerging affective neuroscience literature and implications for understanding psychiatric pathologies characterized by a detrimental susceptibility to emotional cues, with an emphasis on major depressive disorder.

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