Functional and Effective Connectivity of Effortful Emotion Regulation
AuthorMcRae, Kateri Lynne
AdvisorKaszniak, Alfred W.
Committee ChairKaszniak, Alfred W.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractEmotion regulation plays an important role in emotional well-being, as well as in the protection against and recovery from mood and anxiety disorders. Previous studies of the functional neuroanatomy of emotion regulation have reported greater activity in prefrontal control-related regions during active regulation. These activations are accompanied by decreases in activity in emotion-responsive regions such as the amygdala and insula. These findings are widely interpreted as consistent with models of cognitive control that implicate top-down, negative influences from prefrontal cortex upon emotion-related processing in other regions. However, no studies to date have used measures of effective connectivity to investigate the likely influence of prefrontal control regions upon emotion-responsive regions in the context of effortful emotion regulation. In the present study, participants alternated between responding naturally to negative emotional stimuli and reinterpreting the negative stimuli with the goal of reducing their experienced negative affect. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to measure whole-brain blood-oxygen level dependent signal throughout the task. fMRI data were analyzed using partial least squares (PLS) and structural equations modeling (SEM) to test for differences in effective connectivity between natural and regulated emotional responding. Results indicate that three paths significantly distinguish between regulation and non-regulation negative conditions. The path from inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was significantly less positive during regulation than natural responding. In addition, the reciprocal paths between ACC and insula were more negative during regulation than natural responding. Taken as a whole, these changes in effective connectivity are consistent with assumptions of top-down modulation during effortful emotion regulation. In addition, these changes suggest a pivotal role for the influence of IFG upon ACC and the ACC-insula loop in emotion regulation. The processes represented by these changes and implications for future research are discussed.