Activation of Anterior Paralimbic Structures During Guilt-Related Script-Driven Imagery

Department of Psychology, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, USA.
Biological Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 10.26). 08/2000; 48(1):43-50. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3223(00)00251-1
Source: PubMed


Several recent neuroimaging studies have examined the neuroanatomical correlates of normal emotional states, such as happiness, sadness, fear, anger, anxiety, and disgust; however, no previous study has examined the emotional state of guilt.
In the current study, we used positron emission tomography and the script-driven imagery paradigm to study regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) during the transient emotional experience of guilt in eight healthy male participants. In the Guilt condition, participants recalled and imagined participating in a personal event involving the most guilt they had ever experienced. In the Neutral condition, participants recalled and imagined participating in an emotionally neutral personal event.
In the Guilt versus Neutral comparison, rCBF increases occurred in anterior paralimbic regions of the brain: bilateral anterior temporal poles, anterior cingulate gyrus, and left anterior insular cortex/inferior frontal gyrus.
These results, along with those of previous studies, are consistent with the notion that anterior paralimbic regions of the brain mediate negative emotional states in healthy individuals.

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    • "Specifically, imagery evoked by scripts depicting high arousal scenes (fear and actionrelated ) compared to low arousal scenes (relaxation and depression-related) produced greater drops in end-tidal fractional carbon dioxide concentration, likely reflecting hyperventilation (Van Diest et al., 2001). Importantly, this hyperventilation during emotional imagery was more pronounced in individuals with higher relative to lower imagery generation ability, as assessed using the Questionnaire Upon Mental Imagery (QMI; Sheehan, 1967). This individual differences dimension in imagery has also been explored in Lang's work, and will be considered in more detail in Section III. "
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    • "). Hence not surprisingly, IFG activity is also often observed in social interaction paradigms and interpreted as contributing to mentalizing or perspective-taking processes (Beyer et al. 2013; Polosan et al. 2011). Our IFG connectivity cluster was on the left hemisphere around Brodmann area 47, matching a region activated by script-induced guilt (Shin et al. 2000), and an empathy-related peak identified by Liakakis et al. (2011). A recent study found that VS-IFG connectivity induced by happy faces was lower as a function of autistic traits in healthy adults (Sims et al. 2014). "
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    • "Nonetheless, several brain regions have been consistently implicated and the activation of these regions have also been observed for the experience of negative affect, physical pain, and 'social pain' (Shackman et al., 2011; Eisenberger, 2012). For instance, anticipating and imagining a guilt-evoking situation activate the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the anterior insula (AI) and the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (LOFC) (Shin et al., 2000; Basile et al., 2011; Chang et al., 2011; Wagner et al., 2011). These activations may reflect an 'unpleasant arousal akin to anxiety' (Tennen and Herzberger, 1987), such as the anxiety over being socially excluded (Baumeister et al., 1994). "
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