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Neural signatures of the response to emotional distraction: a review of evidence from brain imaging investigations.

Iordan AD, Dolcos S, Dolcos F - Front Hum Neurosci (2013)

Bottom Line: First, the response to emotional distraction is associated with opposing patterns of activity in a ventral "hot" affective system (HotEmo, showing increased activity) and a dorsal "cold" executive system (ColdEx, showing decreased activity).Second, coping with emotional distraction involves top-down control in order to counteract the bottom-up influence of emotional distraction, and involves interactions between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.Third, both the response to and coping with emotional distraction are influenced by individual differences affecting emotional sensitivity and distractibility, which are linked to alterations of both HotEmo and ColdEx neural systems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA ; Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA.

ABSTRACT
Prompt responses to emotional, potentially threatening, stimuli are supported by neural mechanisms that allow for privileged access of emotional information to processing resources. The existence of these mechanisms can also make emotional stimuli potent distracters, particularly when task-irrelevant. The ability to deploy cognitive control in order to cope with emotional distraction is essential for adaptive behavior, while reduced control may lead to enhanced emotional distractibility, which is often a hallmark of affective disorders. Evidence suggests that increased susceptibility to emotional distraction is linked to changes in the processing of emotional information that affect both the basic response to and coping with emotional distraction, but the neural correlates of these phenomena are not clear. The present review discusses emerging evidence from brain imaging studies addressing these issues, and highlights the following three aspects. First, the response to emotional distraction is associated with opposing patterns of activity in a ventral "hot" affective system (HotEmo, showing increased activity) and a dorsal "cold" executive system (ColdEx, showing decreased activity). Second, coping with emotional distraction involves top-down control in order to counteract the bottom-up influence of emotional distraction, and involves interactions between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. Third, both the response to and coping with emotional distraction are influenced by individual differences affecting emotional sensitivity and distractibility, which are linked to alterations of both HotEmo and ColdEx neural systems. Collectively, the available evidence identifies specific neural signatures of the response to emotional challenge, which are fundamental to understanding the mechanisms of emotion-cognition interactions in healthy functioning, and the changes linked to individual variation in emotional distractibility and susceptibility to affective disorders.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Hemispheric asymmetry linked to bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the fusiform gyrus (FG). Although these perceptual areas showed bilateral increased activity in response to anxiety-inducing distraction (red clusters and middle time course graph), a dissociation in the bottom-up response could be observed, linked to individual differences in trait anxiety and cognitive performance. Specifically, the left FG showed positive correlation with trait anxiety (white cluster in the left panel), whereas right FG showed negative correlation with working memory (WM) performance (white cluster in the right panel), consistent with a dissocation of subjective (left) and objective (right) effects. The middle panel illustrates the time course of activity in the FG, which was similar in both hemispheres. The scatterplots on the left and right panels are based on the corresponding correlations of the signal extracted from the FG with the social anxiety (LSAS) and WM scores, respectively. L, Left; R, Right; TR, Repetition Time. Adapted from Denkova et al. (2010), with permission.
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Figure 7: Hemispheric asymmetry linked to bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the fusiform gyrus (FG). Although these perceptual areas showed bilateral increased activity in response to anxiety-inducing distraction (red clusters and middle time course graph), a dissociation in the bottom-up response could be observed, linked to individual differences in trait anxiety and cognitive performance. Specifically, the left FG showed positive correlation with trait anxiety (white cluster in the left panel), whereas right FG showed negative correlation with working memory (WM) performance (white cluster in the right panel), consistent with a dissocation of subjective (left) and objective (right) effects. The middle panel illustrates the time course of activity in the FG, which was similar in both hemispheres. The scatterplots on the left and right panels are based on the corresponding correlations of the signal extracted from the FG with the social anxiety (LSAS) and WM scores, respectively. L, Left; R, Right; TR, Repetition Time. Adapted from Denkova et al. (2010), with permission.

Mentions: Relationships between brain activity and personality-related differences were identified not only for traits reflecting general aspects of cognitive/executive and affective processing, but also for traits reflecting differences in processing and experiencing of specific emotions, such as anxiety. Complementing previous evidence showing that anxiety modulates the response to threat conveyed by social stimuli (e.g., angry faces) in primary emotion processing regions (AMY; e.g., Evans et al., 2008; Ewbank et al., 2009; see also Bishop et al., 2007), a recent study in healthy participants (Denkova et al., 2010) identified individual differences in brain activity linked to both the basic response to and coping with anxiety-inducing distraction (i.e., angry faces); for complementary approaches, see also Bishop (2009) and Ladouceur et al. (2009). Regarding the basic response to emotional distraction, the study by Denkova et al. (2010) identified a hemispheric asymmetry in the bottom-up impact of emotional distraction. Specifically, results pointed to a dissociation between the left and right fusiform gyrus (FG, BA 37), a perceptual region susceptible to emotion modulation (Kanwisher and Yovel, 2006), with the left FG showing positive correlation with anxiety scores and the right FG showing negative correlation with WM performance (Figure 7). This suggests a potential dissociation in the bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the two hemispheres, with the left FG being involved in the subjective impact and experiencing of anxiety-inducing distraction and the right FG being involved in the actual/objective impact on WM performance.


Neural signatures of the response to emotional distraction: a review of evidence from brain imaging investigations.

Iordan AD, Dolcos S, Dolcos F - Front Hum Neurosci (2013)

Hemispheric asymmetry linked to bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the fusiform gyrus (FG). Although these perceptual areas showed bilateral increased activity in response to anxiety-inducing distraction (red clusters and middle time course graph), a dissociation in the bottom-up response could be observed, linked to individual differences in trait anxiety and cognitive performance. Specifically, the left FG showed positive correlation with trait anxiety (white cluster in the left panel), whereas right FG showed negative correlation with working memory (WM) performance (white cluster in the right panel), consistent with a dissocation of subjective (left) and objective (right) effects. The middle panel illustrates the time course of activity in the FG, which was similar in both hemispheres. The scatterplots on the left and right panels are based on the corresponding correlations of the signal extracted from the FG with the social anxiety (LSAS) and WM scores, respectively. L, Left; R, Right; TR, Repetition Time. Adapted from Denkova et al. (2010), with permission.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3672684&req=5

Figure 7: Hemispheric asymmetry linked to bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the fusiform gyrus (FG). Although these perceptual areas showed bilateral increased activity in response to anxiety-inducing distraction (red clusters and middle time course graph), a dissociation in the bottom-up response could be observed, linked to individual differences in trait anxiety and cognitive performance. Specifically, the left FG showed positive correlation with trait anxiety (white cluster in the left panel), whereas right FG showed negative correlation with working memory (WM) performance (white cluster in the right panel), consistent with a dissocation of subjective (left) and objective (right) effects. The middle panel illustrates the time course of activity in the FG, which was similar in both hemispheres. The scatterplots on the left and right panels are based on the corresponding correlations of the signal extracted from the FG with the social anxiety (LSAS) and WM scores, respectively. L, Left; R, Right; TR, Repetition Time. Adapted from Denkova et al. (2010), with permission.
Mentions: Relationships between brain activity and personality-related differences were identified not only for traits reflecting general aspects of cognitive/executive and affective processing, but also for traits reflecting differences in processing and experiencing of specific emotions, such as anxiety. Complementing previous evidence showing that anxiety modulates the response to threat conveyed by social stimuli (e.g., angry faces) in primary emotion processing regions (AMY; e.g., Evans et al., 2008; Ewbank et al., 2009; see also Bishop et al., 2007), a recent study in healthy participants (Denkova et al., 2010) identified individual differences in brain activity linked to both the basic response to and coping with anxiety-inducing distraction (i.e., angry faces); for complementary approaches, see also Bishop (2009) and Ladouceur et al. (2009). Regarding the basic response to emotional distraction, the study by Denkova et al. (2010) identified a hemispheric asymmetry in the bottom-up impact of emotional distraction. Specifically, results pointed to a dissociation between the left and right fusiform gyrus (FG, BA 37), a perceptual region susceptible to emotion modulation (Kanwisher and Yovel, 2006), with the left FG showing positive correlation with anxiety scores and the right FG showing negative correlation with WM performance (Figure 7). This suggests a potential dissociation in the bottom-up impact of emotional distraction in the two hemispheres, with the left FG being involved in the subjective impact and experiencing of anxiety-inducing distraction and the right FG being involved in the actual/objective impact on WM performance.

Bottom Line: First, the response to emotional distraction is associated with opposing patterns of activity in a ventral "hot" affective system (HotEmo, showing increased activity) and a dorsal "cold" executive system (ColdEx, showing decreased activity).Second, coping with emotional distraction involves top-down control in order to counteract the bottom-up influence of emotional distraction, and involves interactions between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex.Third, both the response to and coping with emotional distraction are influenced by individual differences affecting emotional sensitivity and distractibility, which are linked to alterations of both HotEmo and ColdEx neural systems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA ; Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, IL, USA.

ABSTRACT
Prompt responses to emotional, potentially threatening, stimuli are supported by neural mechanisms that allow for privileged access of emotional information to processing resources. The existence of these mechanisms can also make emotional stimuli potent distracters, particularly when task-irrelevant. The ability to deploy cognitive control in order to cope with emotional distraction is essential for adaptive behavior, while reduced control may lead to enhanced emotional distractibility, which is often a hallmark of affective disorders. Evidence suggests that increased susceptibility to emotional distraction is linked to changes in the processing of emotional information that affect both the basic response to and coping with emotional distraction, but the neural correlates of these phenomena are not clear. The present review discusses emerging evidence from brain imaging studies addressing these issues, and highlights the following three aspects. First, the response to emotional distraction is associated with opposing patterns of activity in a ventral "hot" affective system (HotEmo, showing increased activity) and a dorsal "cold" executive system (ColdEx, showing decreased activity). Second, coping with emotional distraction involves top-down control in order to counteract the bottom-up influence of emotional distraction, and involves interactions between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. Third, both the response to and coping with emotional distraction are influenced by individual differences affecting emotional sensitivity and distractibility, which are linked to alterations of both HotEmo and ColdEx neural systems. Collectively, the available evidence identifies specific neural signatures of the response to emotional challenge, which are fundamental to understanding the mechanisms of emotion-cognition interactions in healthy functioning, and the changes linked to individual variation in emotional distractibility and susceptibility to affective disorders.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus