Participants who are instructed to use reappraisal to downregulate negative emotion show decreased amygdala responses and increased prefrontal responses. However, it is not known whether individual differences in the tendency to use reappraisal manifests in similar neural responses when individuals are spontaneously confronted with negative situations. Such spontaneous emotion regulation might play an important role in normal and pathological responses to the emotional challenges of everyday life.
Fifty-six healthy women completed a blood oxygenation-level dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging challenge paradigm involving the perceptual processing of emotionally negative facial expressions. Participants also completed measures of typical emotion regulation use, trait anxiety, and neuroticism.
Greater use of reappraisal in everyday life was related to decreased amygdala activity and increased prefrontal and parietal activity during the processing of negative emotional facial expressions. These associations were not attributable to variation in trait anxiety, neuroticism, or the use of another common form of emotion regulation, namely suppression.
These findings suggest that, like instructed reappraisal, individual differences in reappraisal use are associated with decreased activation in ventral emotion generative regions and increased activation in prefrontal control regions in response to negative stimuli. Such individual differences in emotion regulation might predict successful coping with emotional challenges as well as the onset of affective disorders.
Amygdala; cognitive control; emotion; fMRI; regulation; reappraisal
A common emotion regulation strategy, cognitive reappraisal, involves altering the meaning of a situation so that the emotional response to the situation is changed. Most research on reappraisal has focused on down-regulation of negative emotion; few studies exist on reappraisal of positive affect, and even fewer have examined the cognitive reappraisal of craving for energy-dense (e.g., “junk”) foods. In the present study we examined this form of cognitive reappraisal using a new adaptation of a classic emotion regulation task. Subjects chose idiosyncratic categories of craved (and not craved) energy-dense foods as stimuli, and were instructed either to look at the stimulus or to reappraise it in a way that reduced desire to eat the depicted food using a strategy that could be used in the real world. A repeated-measures ANOVA and follow-up tests revealed that reappraisal significantly reduced self-reported desirability of both Craved and Not Craved foods, but for a greater degree in Craved foods. In addition, the degree to which subjects decreased their desire to consume Craved foods positively correlated with the cognitive restraint subscale of the Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire, a measure of self-control of eating in everyday life.
Craving; Regulation; Cognitive reappraisal; Food; Eating
Previous studies have reported the effect of emotion regulation (ER) strategies on both individual and social decision-making, however, the effect of regulation on socially driven emotions independent of decisions is still unclear. In the present study, we investigated the neural effects of using reappraisal to both up- and down-regulate socially driven emotions. Participants played the Dictator Game (DG) in the role of recipient while undergoing fMRI, and concurrently applied the strategies of either up-regulation (reappraising the proposer's intentions as more negative), down-regulation (reappraising the proposer's intentions as less negative), as well as a baseline “look” condition. Results showed that regions responding to the implementation of reappraisal (effect of strategy, that is, “regulating regions”) were the inferior and middle frontal gyrus, temporo parietal junction and insula bilaterally. Importantly, the middle frontal gyrus activation correlated with the frequency of regulatory strategies in daily life, with the insula activation correlating with the perceived ability to reappraise the emotions elicited by the social situation. Regions regulated by reappraisal (effect of regulation, that is, “regulated regions”) were the striatum, the posterior cingulate and the insula, showing increased activation for the up-regulation and reduced activation for down-regulation, both compared to the baseline condition. When analyzing the separate effects of partners' behavior, selfish behavior produced an activation of the insula, not observed when subjects were treated altruistically. Here we show for the first time that interpersonal ER strategies can strongly affect neural responses when experiencing socially driven emotions. Clinical implications of these findings are also discussed to understand how the way we interpret others' intentions may affect the way we emotionally react.
interpersonal emotion regulation; decision-making; social interactions; mentalizing
This study explored how the effectiveness of specific emotion regulation strategies might be influenced by aging and by time of day, given that in older age the circadian peak in cognitive performance is earlier in the day. We compared the benefit gained by 40 older (60–78 years; 20 women) and 40 younger (18–30 years; 20 women) adults during either on-peak or off-peak circadian times on 2 specific types of cognitive emotion regulation strategies: distraction and reappraisal. Participants rated their negative emotional responses to negative and neutral images under 3 conditions: a baseline nonregulation condition, a distraction condition involving a working memory task, and a reappraisal condition that involved reinterpreting the situation displayed using specific preselected strategies. First, as hypothesized, there was a crossover interaction such that participants in each age group reported more negative reactivity at their off-peak time of day. Second, a double dissociation was observed as circadian rhythms affected only negative reactivity—with reactivity highest at off-peak times—and aging diminished reappraisal but not distraction ability or reactivity. These findings add to growing evidence that understanding the effects of aging on emotion and emotion regulation depends on taking both time of day and type of regulatory strategy into account.
emotional reactivity; emotion regulation; cognitive reappraisal; aging; circadian rhythms
Rationale and Objective
Drug cues can induce craving for drugs of abuse. Dysfunctional regulation of emotion and motivation regarding rewarding objects appears to be an integral part of addiction. It has been found that cognitive strategies decreased the intensity of craving in addicts. Reappraisal strategy is a type of cognitive strategy that requires participants to reinterpret the meaning of an emotional situation. In addition, studies have found that activation of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) is associated with the selection and application of cognitive reappraisal. In present study, we sought to determine whether such cognitive regulation engages the dACC and improves inhibition of craving in smokers.
Sixteen smokers underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during performance of a cigarette reward-conditioning procedure with cognitive reappraisal. We focused our analyses on the dACC as a key structure of cognitive control of craving. Cue induced craving under different conditions was obtained. Correlational analysis between the functional response in the dACC and the subjective craving was performed.
We found that using a cognitive reappraisal was successful in decreasing the conditioned craving. Right dACC (BA 24/32) engaged in the cognitive reappraisal. In addition, the individual’s subjective craving was negatively correlated with the right dACC activation.
These findings suggest that the dACC are important substrates of Inhibition of cue induced craving in smokers. Cognitive regulation by cognitive reappraisal may help addicted individuals avoid the anticipated situations where they are exposed to conditioned cues.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is characterized by distorted negative self-beliefs (NSBs) which are thought to enhance emotional reactivity, interfere with emotion regulation, and undermine social functioning. Cognitive reappraisal is a type of emotion regulation used to alter NSBs, with the goal of modulating emotional reactivity. Despite its relevance, little is known about the neural bases and temporal features of cognitive reappraisal in patients with SAD.
Twenty-seven patients with SAD and 27 healthy controls (HC) were trained to react and to implement cognitive reappraisal in order to down-regulate negative emotional reactivity to NSBs while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging and providing ratings of negative emotion experience.
Behaviorally, compared with HC, patients with SAD reported greater negative emotion both while reacting to and reappraising NSBs. However, when cued, participants in both groups were able to use cognitive reappraisal to decrease emotion. Neurally, reacting to NSBs resulted in early amygdala response in both groups. Reappraising NSBs resulted in greater early cognitive control, language, and visual processing in HC, but greater late cognitive control, visceral, and visual processing in patients with SAD. Functional connectivity analysis during reappraisal identified more regulatory regions inversely related to left amygdala in HCs than in patients with SAD. Reappraisal-related brain regions that differentiated patients and controls were associated with negative emotion ratings and cognitive reappraisal self-efficacy.
Findings regarding cognitive reappraisal suggest neural timing, connectivity, and brain-behavioral associations specific to patients with SAD, and elucidate neural mechanisms that might serve as biomarkers of interventions for SAD.
brain; emotion; emotion regulation; social anxiety; fMRI; neuroimaging
Extinction learning is proposed to be one key mechanism of action underlying exposure-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in specific phobia. Beyond that, cognitive reappraisal, one important strategy to regulate negative emotions, is a crucial component of CBT interventions, but has been disregarded in previous studies investigating neural change processes in specific phobia. The aim of this study was to investigate the association of individual differences in habitual/dispositional cognitive reappraisal usage and the time course of brain activation during phobic stimulation in specific phobia.
Dental phobic patients and healthy control subjects participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study whilst being confronted with phobic, disgust, fear and neutral pictures. Individual differences in cognitive reappraisal usage were assessed via a self-report questionnaire and correlated with activation decreases over the course of time.
Phobic individuals with higher dispositional cognitive reappraisal scores showed a more pronounced activation decline in the right dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) which might be associated with a diminution of explicit cognitive emotion regulation over the course of time. Less decrease of activation in the right ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC) over time in subjects with higher cognitive reappraisal scores might be related to a stronger automatic regulation of emotions or even emotional relearning. Additionally, phobic subjects compared with healthy controls showed a stronger habituation of the left dmPFC over the course of symptom provocation.
The results of this study show for the first time that individual differences in cognitive reappraisal usage are associated with the time course of brain activation during symptom provocation in specific phobia. Additionally, the present study gives first indications for the importance of considering individual differences in cognitive reappraisal usage in the treatment of specific phobia.
Specific phobia; Emotion regulation; Cognitive reappraisal; vmPFC; Insula; Habituation; Extinction; fMRI; CBT
Emotion regulation strategies are thought to differ in when and how they influence the emotion-generative process. However, no study to date has directly probed the neural bases of two contrasting (e.g., cognitive versus behavioral) emotion regulation strategies. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine cognitive reappraisal (a cognitive strategy thought to have its impact early in the emotion-generative process) and expressive-suppression (a behavioral strategy thought to have its impact later in the emotion-generative process).
Seventeen women viewed 15s neutral and negative-emotion eliciting films under four conditions - watch neutral, watch negative, reappraise negative, and suppress negative - while providing emotion experience ratings and having their facial expressions videotaped.
Reappraisal resulted in early (0−4.5s) prefrontal cortical (PFC) responses, decreased negative emotion experience, and decreased amygdala and insular responses. Suppression produced late (10.5−15s) PFC responses, decreased negative emotion behavior and experience, but increased amygdala and insula responses.
These findings demonstrate the differential efficacy of reappraisal and suppression on emotional experience, facial behavior, and neural response, and highlight intriguing differences in the temporal dynamics of these two emotion regulation strategies.
Emotion; emotion regulation; cognitive control; insula; amygdala; fMRI
It has been suggested that reappraisal strategies are more effective than suppression strategies for regulating emotions. Recently, proponents of the acceptance-based behavior therapy movement have further emphasized the importance of acceptance-based emotion regulation techniques. In order to directly compare these different emotion regulation strategies, 202 volunteers were asked to give an impromptu speech in front of a video camera. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups. The Reappraisal group was instructed to regulate their anxious arousal by reappraising the situation; the Suppression group was asked to suppress their anxious behaviors; and the Acceptance group was instructed to accept their anxiety. As expected, the Suppression group showed a greater increase in heart rate from baseline than the Reappraisal and Acceptance groups. Moreover, the Suppression group reported more anxiety than the Reappraisal group. However, the Acceptance and Suppression groups did not differ in their subjective anxiety response. These results suggest that both reappraising and accepting anxiety is more effective for moderating the physiological arousal than suppressing anxiety. However, reappraising is more effective for moderating the subjective feeling of anxiety than attempts to suppress or accept it.
Emotion regulation; cognitive behavioral therapy; acceptance and commitment therapy; CBT; ACT; anxiety
Cognitive reappraisal, or changing one’s interpretation of an event in order to alter the emotional response to it, is thought to be a healthy and effective emotion regulation strategy. Although researchers recognize several distinct varieties of reappraisal, few studies have explicitly compared the effects of multiple reappraisal strategies on emotional responding. The present study compares the effects of detached and positive reappraisal on thought content, subjective emotional experience, physiological reactivity, and facial expressions of emotion while viewing film clips evoking sadness and disgust. While both forms of reappraisal reduced overall emotional responding to unpleasant stimuli, the effects of detached reappraisal were stronger in this regard, and positive reappraisal was more likely to maintain subjective experience and facial expression of stimulus-appropriate positive emotions. The two reappraisal strategies also produced somewhat different profiles of physiological responding. Differences between detached and positive reappraisal with respect to subjective experience and facial expression were more pronounced among men than women; the reverse was true for differences with respect to physiological responding. Beyond these effects on individual emotion response systems, detached and positive reappraisal also had somewhat different effects on coherence in change across response systems. Implications for our understanding of emotion regulation processes, and for emotion theory more broadly, are discussed.
Emotion; Emotion Regulation; Reappraisal; Psychophysiology; Non-Verbal Expression
The success of social insects can be in part attributed to their division of labor, which has been explained by a response threshold model. This model posits that individuals differ in their response thresholds to task-associated stimuli, so that individuals with lower thresholds specialize in this task. This model is at odds with findings on honeybee behavior as nectar and pollen foragers exhibit different responsiveness to sucrose, with nectar foragers having higher response thresholds to sucrose concentration. Moreover, it has been suggested that sucrose responsiveness correlates with responsiveness to most if not all other stimuli. If this is the case, explaining task specialization and the origins of division of labor on the basis of differences in response thresholds is difficult.
To compare responsiveness to stimuli presenting clear-cut differences in hedonic value and behavioral contexts, we measured appetitive and aversive responsiveness in the same bees in the laboratory. We quantified proboscis extension responses to increasing sucrose concentrations and sting extension responses to electric shocks of increasing voltage. We analyzed the relationship between aversive responsiveness and aversive olfactory conditioning of the sting extension reflex, and determined how this relationship relates to division of labor.
Sucrose and shock responsiveness measured in the same bees did not correlate, thus suggesting that they correspond to independent behavioral syndromes, a foraging and a defensive one. Bees which were more responsive to shock learned and memorized better aversive associations. Finally, guards were less responsive than nectar foragers to electric shocks, exhibiting higher tolerance to low voltage shocks. Consequently, foragers, which are more sensitive, were the ones learning and memorizing better in aversive conditioning.
Our results constitute the first integrative study on how aversive responsiveness affects learning, memory and social organization in honeybees. We suggest that parallel behavioral modules (e.g. appetitive, aversive) coexist within each individual bee and determine its tendency to adopt a given task. This conclusion, which is at odds with a simple threshold model, should open new opportunities for exploring the division of labor in social insects.
The regulation of negative emotion through reappraisal has been shown to induce increased prefrontal activity and decreased amygdala activity. Individual differences in dispositional mindfulness reflect differences in typical recognition, detachment and regulation of current experience, thought to also operate as top–down control mechanism. We sought to investigate whether such individual differences would be associated with brain activity elicited during reappraisal of negative emotion. Eighteen healthy participants completed a functional magnetic resonance imaging task that involved attending to or reappraising negative stimuli, and provided emotion experience ratings after each trial. Dispositional mindfulness was assessed with a self-report questionnaire. Reappraisal induced activity in a brain network involving predominantly dorsal portions of the prefrontal cortex, replicating previous studies. A voxelwise regression analysis showed that individual differences in the tendency to be mindful predicted activity in neural regions underlying reappraisal, with dorsomedial prefrontal cortex activation increasing with more mindfulness traits. Notably, this prefrontal activation was inversely correlated with the amygdala response to negative scenes, further supporting its role in down-regulating emotion-generation regions. These findings suggest that individual differences in dispositional mindfulness, which reflect the tendency to recognize and regulate current states, may modulate activity in neural systems involved in the effective cognitive control of negative emotion.
emotion regulation; fMRI; individual differences; mindfulness; prefrontal cortex
Neuroimaging has demonstrated that voluntary emotion regulation is effective in reducing amygdala activation to aversive stimuli during regulation. However, to date little is known about the sustainability of these neural effects once active emotion regulation has been terminated.
We addressed this issue by means of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in healthy female subjects. We performed an active emotion regulation task using aversive visual scenes (task 1) and a subsequent passive viewing task using the same stimuli (task 2). Here we demonstrate not only a significantly reduced amygdala activation during active regulation but also a sustained regulation effect on the amygdala in the subsequent passive viewing task. This effect was related to an immediate increase of amygdala signal in task 1 once active emotion regulation has been terminated: The larger this peak postregulation signal in the amygdala in task 1, the smaller the sustained regulation effect in task 2.
In summary, we found clear evidence that effects of voluntary emotion regulation extend beyond the period of active regulation. These findings are of importance for the understanding of emotion regulation in general, for disorders of emotion regulation and for psychotherapeutic interventions.
Emotion regulation includes multiple strategies that rely upon different underlying abilities, and that may be affected differently by aging. We assessed young, middle-aged, and older adults' ability to implement three emotion regulation strategies (detached reappraisal, positive reappraisal, and behavior suppression) in a laboratory setting, using standardized emotional stimuli and a multi-method approach to assessing regulation success. Results revealed age-related decline in ability to implement detached reappraisal, enhancement of ability to implement positive reappraisal, and maintenance of ability to implement behavior suppression. We discuss these findings in terms of their implications for emotion theory and for promoting successful aging.
Aging; Emotion; Emotion Regulation; Psychophysiology; Reappraisal
Although multiple neuroimaging studies suggest that affect labeling (i.e., putting feelings into words) can dampen affect-related responses in the amygdala, the consequences of affect labeling have not been examined in other channels of emotional responding. We conducted four studies examining the effect of affect labeling on self-reported emotional experience. In study one, self-reported distress was lower during affect labeling, compared to passive watching, of negative emotional pictures. Studies two and three added reappraisal and distraction conditions, respectively. Affect labeling showed similar effects on self-reported distress as both of these intentional emotion regulation strategies. In each of the first three studies, however, participant predictions about the effects of affect labeling suggest that unlike reappraisal and distraction, people do not believe affect labeling to be an effective emotion regulation strategy. Even after having the experience of affect labels leading to lower distress, participants still predicted that affect labeling would increase distress in the future. Thus, affect labeling is best described as an incidental emotion regulation process. Finally, study four employed positive emotional pictures and here, affect labeling was associated with diminished self-reported pleasure, relative to passive watching. This suggests that affect labeling tends to dampen affective responses in general, rather than specifically alleviating negative affect.
emotion; emotion regulation; emotional experience
Electrocortical activity, typically used to track the effects of cognitive reappraisal on the processing of emotional stimuli, has not been used to index PFC-mediated regulatory mechanisms responsible for these effects. In the current study, we examined the novel possibility that induced frontal alpha (i.e., 8 – 13 Hz), shown to reflect the inhibition and disengagement of task-relevant cortical regions, may be quantified to explore cortical activation that is specifically enhanced during cognitive reappraisal. For this purpose, 44 participants viewed unpleasant and neutral pictures followed by auditory instructions to either continue viewing the picture or reduce emotional response to the picture by making the picture seem less emotional (i.e., cognitive reappraisal). In line with previous work, unpleasant compared to neutral pictures elicited a larger late positive potential (LPP). Also corroborating previous work, the mid-latency LPP was reduced when pictures were cognitively reappraised. However, the current study showed for the first time that whereas unpleasant pictures elicited higher frontal alpha power than the neutral pictures bilaterally, frontal alpha power was reduced (indicative of more activation and cognitive control) during cognitive reappraisal of both picture types over the left hemisphere. Taken together, the LPP and event-related induced frontal alpha findings contribute unique information about distinct neural substrates and cognitive processes underlying reappraisal.
Previous research across species has shown that the amygdala is critical for learning about aversive outcomes, while the striatum is involved in reward-related processing. Less is known, however, about the role of the amygdala and the striatum in learning how to exert control over emotions and avoid negative outcomes. One potential mechanism for active avoidance of stressful situations is postulated to involve amygdala–striatal interactions. The goal of this study was to investigate the physiological and neural correlates underlying avoidance learning in humans. Specifically, we used a classical conditioning paradigm where three different conditioned stimuli (CS) were presented. One stimulus predicted the delivery of a shock upon stimulus offset (CS+), while another predicted no negative consequences (CS−). A third conditioned cue also predicted delivery of a shock, but participants were instructed that upon seeing this stimulus, they could avoid the shock if they chose the correct action (AV+). After successful learning, participants could then easily terminate the shock during subsequent stimulus presentations (AV−). Physiological responses (as measured by skin conductance responses) confirmed a main effect of conditioning, particularly showing higher arousal responses during pre (AV+) compared to post (AV−) learning of an avoidance response. Consistent with animal models, amygdala–striatal interactions were observed to underlie the acquisition of an avoidance response. These results support a mechanism of active coping with conditioned fear that allows for the control over emotional responses such as fears that can become maladaptive and influence our decision-making.
amygdala; striatum; negative reinforcement; instrumental conditioning; fMRI; reward; punishment
People often encounter difficulty when making conscious attempts to regulate their emotions. We propose that nonconscious self-regulatory processes may be of help in these difficult circumstances, because nonconscious processes are not subject to the same set of limitations as are conscious processes. Two experiments examined the effects of nonconsciously operating goals on people's emotion-regulatory success. In Experiment 1, participants engaged in an anxiety-eliciting task who had a reappraisal emotion-control goal primed and operating nonconsciously achieved the same decrease in physiological reactivity as those explicitly instructed to reappraise, compared to a control group. In Experiment 2, the effect of nonconscious reappraisal priming on physiological reactivity was shown to be most pronounced for those who do not habitually use reappraisal strategies. The findings highlight the potential importance of nonconscious goals for facilitating emotional control in complex real-world environments, and have implications for contemporary models of emotion-regulation.
nonconscious goals; emotion regulation; reappraisal; dual-process
Phobic responses are strong emotional reactions towards phobic objects, which can be described as a deficit in the automatic regulation of emotions. Difficulties in the voluntary cognitive control of these emotions suggest a further phobia-specific deficit in effortful emotion regulation mechanisms. The actual study is based on this emotion regulation conceptualization of specific phobias. The aim is to investigate the neural correlates of these two emotion regulation deficits in spider phobics. Sixteen spider phobic females participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in which they were asked to voluntarily up- and down-regulate their emotions elicited by spider and generally aversive pictures with a reappraisal strategy. In line with the hypothesis concerning an automatic emotion regulation deficit, increased activity in the insula and reduced activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex was observed. Furthermore, phobia-specific effortful regulation within phobics was associated with altered activity in medial prefrontal cortex areas. Altogether, these results suggest that spider phobic subjects are indeed characterized by a deficit in the automatic as well as the effortful regulation of emotions elicited by phobic compared with aversive stimuli. These two forms of phobic emotion regulation deficits are associated with altered activity in different medial prefrontal cortex subregions.
phobia; emotion regulation; medial prefrontal cortex; cognitive control; fMRI
Research investigating the role of maladaptive emotion regulation (ER) on food intake has exclusively focused on food intake in a forced consumption situation. In contrast, the present study examined the effect of negative emotions (fear, negative affect) and ER strategies (suppression, reappraisal) on food intake in a non-forced, free eating setting where participants (N = 165) could choose whether and how much they ate. This free (ad libitum) eating approach enabled, for the first time, the testing of (1) whether eating (yes/no) is used as a secondary ER strategy and (2) whether the amount of food intake differed, depending on the ER strategy. In order to produce a more ecologically valid design, ER strategy manipulation was realized while exposing participants to emotion induction procedures. To induce an initial negative emotional state, a movie clip was presented without ER instruction. The instructions to regulate emotions (suppression, reappraisal, no ER instruction) then preceded a second clip. The results show that whereas about two-thirds of the control (no ER instruction) and suppression groups began to eat, only one-third of the reappraisal group did. However, when reappraisers began to eat, they ate as much as participants in the suppression and control groups. Accordingly, the results suggest that when people are confronted with a negative event, eating is used as a secondary coping strategy when the enacted ER is ineffective. Conversely, an adaptive ER such as reappraisal decreases the likelihood of eating in the first place, even when ER is employed during rather than before the unfolding of the negative event. Consequently, the way we deal with negative emotions might be more relevant for explaining emotional eating than the distress itself.
emotion regulation; food intake; suppression; reappraisal; emotional eating
Emotional instability is a defining feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD), yet little is understood about its underlying neural correlates. One possible contributing factor to emotional instability is a failure to adequately employ adaptive cognitive regulatory strategies such as psychological distancing.
To determine whether there are differences in neural dynamics underlying this control strategy, between BPD patients and healthy volunteers (HC’s), BOLD fMRI signals were acquired as 18 BPD and 16 HC subjects distanced from or simply looked at negative and neutral pictures depicting social interactions. Contrasts in signal between distance and look condition were compared between groups to identify commonalities and differences in regional activation.
BPD patients show a different pattern of activation compared to HC subjects when looking at negative vs. neutral pictures. When distancing vs. looking at negative pictures, both groups showed decreased negative affect in rating and increased activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, areas near/along the intraparietal sulcus (IPS), ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate/precuneus regions. However, the BPD group showed less BOLD signal change in dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and IPS, less deactivation in the amygdala and greater activation in the superior temporal sulcus and superior frontal gyrus.
BPD and HC subjects display different neural dynamics while passively viewing social emotional stimuli. In addition, BPD patients do not engage the cognitive control regions to the extent that HC’s do when employing a distancing strategy to regulate emotional reactions, which may be a factor contributing to the affective instability of BPD.
Emotion; Cognitive Reappraisal; Social Cognitive Neuroscience; Psychological Distancing; Emotion Regulation; fMRI
The ability to use cognitive reappraisal to regulate emotions is an adaptive skill in adulthood, but little is known about its development. Because reappraisal is thought to be supported by linearly developing prefrontal regions, one prediction is that reappraisal ability develops linearly. However, recent investigations into socio-emotional development suggest that there are non-linear patterns that uniquely affect adolescents. We compared older children (10–13), adolescents (14–17) and young adults (18–22) on a task that distinguishes negative emotional reactivity from reappraisal ability. Behaviorally, we observed no age differences in self-reported emotional reactivity, but linear and quadratic relationships between reappraisal ability and age. Neurally, we observed linear age-related increases in activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, previously identified in adult reappraisal. We observed a quadratic pattern of activation with age in regions associated with social cognitive processes like mental state attribution (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, anterior temporal cortex). In these regions, we observed relatively lower reactivity-related activation in adolescents, but higher reappraisal-related activation. This suggests that (i) engagement of the cognitive control components of reappraisal increases linearly with age and (ii) adolescents may not normally recruit regions associated with mental state attribution, but (iii) this can be reversed with reappraisal instructions.
reappraisal; emotion regulation; development; social; cognitive
Previous emotion-regulation research has shown that the late positive potential (LPP) is sensitive to the down-regulation of emotion; however, whether LPP is also sensitive to the up-regulation of emotion remains unclear. The present study examined the description-based reappraisal effects on the up-regulation of positive emotions induced by erotic and neutral images in a Chinese population. Self-reported ratings and event-related potential (ERP) were recorded when subjects viewed pleasant and neutral images, which were shown after either a neutral or positive description. Self-reported results showed that images following positive descriptions were rated as more pleasant compared to images following neutral descriptions. ERP results revealed that the P2, P3, and slow wave (SW) components were larger for erotic pictures than for neutral pictures, while the positive description condition yielded attenuated erotic image-induced P2, P3 and SW and increased SW induced by neutral images. The results demonstrated that description-based reappraisal, as a method of reappraisal, significantly modulates the emotional experience and ERP responses to erotic and neutral images.
LPP; SW; up-regulation; emotion regulation; description-based reappraisal
Cognitive emotion regulation strategies, such as reappraising the emotional meaning of events, are linked to positive adjustment and are disrupted in individuals showing emotional distress, like anxiety. The late positive potential (LPP) is sensitive to reappraisal: LPP amplitudes are reduced when unpleasant pictures are reappraised in a positive light, suggesting regulation of negative emotion. However, only one study has examined reappraisal in children using the LPP. The present study examined whether directed reappraisals reduce the LPP in a group of 5- to 7-year-olds, and correlate with individual differences in fear and anxiety. EEG was recorded from 32 typically-developing children via 64 scalp electrodes during a directed reappraisal task. Mothers reported on child anxiety. Fearful behavior was observed. As predicted, LPP amplitudes were larger to unpleasant versus neutral pictures; counter to predictions, the LPP was not sensitive to reappraisal. The degree to which unpleasant versus neutral pictures elicited larger LPPs was correlated with greater anxiety and fear. Results suggest that reappraisal in young children is still developing, but that the LPP is sensitive to individual differences related to fear and anxiety. The utility of the LPP as a measure of cognitive emotion regulation and emotional processing biases in children is discussed.
Emotion Regulation; Reappraisal; ERPs; Late Positive Potential; Children; Anxiety
Reappraisal has been defined as a conscious, deliberate change in the way an emotional stimulus is interpreted, initiated in order to change its emotion-eliciting character (Gross, 2002). Reappraisal can be used to down-regulate negative emotions, including anxiety (reviewed in Kalisch, 2009). There is currently a strong interest in identifying the cognitive processes and neural substrates that mediate reappraisal. We have recently proposed a model (termed implementation–maintenance model or IMMO) that conceptualizes reappraisal as a temporally extended, dynamic, and multi-componential process (Kalisch, 2009). A key tenet of IMMO is that reappraisal episodes are marked by an early phase of implementation that may comprise strategy selection and retrieval of reappraisal material into working memory, and a later phase of maintenance that may comprise working memory and performance monitoring processes. These should be supported by dissociable neural networks. We here show, using a detachment-from-threat paradigm and concurrent functional magnetic resonance imaging, that reappraisal-related brain activity shifts from left posterior to right anterior parts of the lateral frontal cortex during the course of a reappraisal episode. Our data provide first empirical evidence for the existence of two separable reappraisal stages. Implications for further model development are discussed.
emotion regulation; reappraisal; detachment; distancing; fear; anxiety; prefrontal cortex