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.

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    • "En este sentido, la relación entre SPE y revaluación sería estrecha. Teniendo en cuenta las estrategias cognitivas que implica la SPE, este mecanismo analiza un espacio donde se presenta un problema con una alta carga afectiva que busca alcanzar metas 'enfriando' la situación en términos emocionales (Aldao et al., 2010;Beck et al., 1983;Kanske et al., 2011). En este caso, serían estrategias de procesos de lectura y recuperación semántica implementadas por el FFOI izquierdo y FA izquierdo respectivamente. "
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    ABSTRACT: Emotional solving problems is an emotional regulation mechanism that implements cognitive-linguistics strategies to reduce the affective impact in a situation and to accomplish a proposed objective. Together with the reappraisal, it is considered a healthy mechanism, in difference with suppression and rumination. Researches that have used neuroimaging techniques have proposed cerebral areas associated to the functioning of the different emotional regulation mechanisms. The objective of this research was to study the brain connectivity gradients of white matter associated to emotional solving problems, to propose a brain connectivity network of this emotional regulation mechanism. The efficacy of emotional solving problems was measured with a behavioral task recently developed, based on semantic effortful retrieval with high affective impact stimulus. 32 young women (M= 24,34; DS=5,24) participated of the study. Correlations of Pearson were performed between accuracy measures of the behavioral task and fractional anisotropy of the white matter fascicles of interest. The results propose a brain connectivity network of emotional solving problems with the main participation of the Arcuate and Fronto Occipital Inferior fascicles of left hemisphere, both crucial in the implementation of lexical and semantic strategies to the reduction of affective impact.
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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.
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    • "Withdrawing attention before elaborated stimulus processing might prevent the occurrence of dysfunctional thoughts resulting in reduced anxious apprehension following disorder-relevant stimuli. Regarding the neural bases of those two emotionregulation strategies, the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is selectively activated during cognitive reappraisal compared with distraction (Kanske et al. 2011;Dörfel et al. 2014). The OFC is also involved in value updating (Gottfried et al. 2003;Rudebeck et al. 2013) and affective reversal learning (Fellows & Farah, 2003;Kringelbach & Rolls, 2003;Remijnse et al. 2005). "
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