Making an effort to feel positive: insecure attachment in infancy predicts the neural underpinnings of emotion regulation in adulthood.
Bottom Line: If similar processes operate in human development then this is significant, as the capacity to regulate emotional states is fundamental to human adaptation.Specifically, while attempting to up-regulate positive emotions, adults who had been insecurely versus securely attached as infants showed greater activation in prefrontal regions involved in cognitive control and reduced co-activation of nucleus accumbens with prefrontal cortex, consistent with relative inefficiency in the neural regulation of positive affect.Disturbances in the mother-infant relationship may persistently alter the neural circuitry of emotion regulation, with potential implications for adjustment in adulthood.
Affiliation: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK.Show MeSH
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Mentions: For the positive stimuli, voxelwise analyses of the ‘increase’ versus ‘attend’ contrast yielded a number of brain regions that were significantly more active in the insecure attachment group than in the secure group. Effects were unchanged when maternal PND (present/absent), current depressive symptoms (CESD), past history of depression (present/absent), and gender were also included in the model. Results, including gender, past depression, CESD scores and maternal PND as covariates, are presented in Table2 and Figure1. Significant differences were identified in four regions; left and right anterior PFC/frontal pole, rostral ACC (rACC), and dorsal medial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC). In each case, greater activation was observed in the insecure than the secure group during up-regulation relative to passive viewing of positive pictures (i.e., increase vs. attend).
Affiliation: Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, University College London, London, UK.