Anticipatory Brain Activity Predicts the Success or Failure of Subsequent Emotion Regulation

Posted: 28 Oct 2016

See all articles by Bryan Denny

Bryan Denny

Rice University

Kevin N. Ochsner

Columbia University - Department of Psychology

Jochen Weber

Independent

Tor Wager

University of Colorado at Boulder

Date Written: October 24, 2016

Abstract

Expectations about an upcoming emotional event have the power to shape one's subsequent affective response for better or worse. Here, we used mediation analyses to examine the relationship between brain activity when anticipating the need to cognitively reappraise aversive images, amygdala responses to those images and subsequent success in diminishing negative affect. We found that anticipatory activity in right rostrolateral prefrontal cortex was associated with greater subsequent left amygdala responses to aversive images and decreased regulation success. In contrast, anticipatory ventral anterior insula activity was associated with reduced amygdala responses and greater reappraisal success. In both cases, left amygdala responses mediated the relationship between anticipatory activity and reappraisal success. These results suggest that anticipation facilitates successful reappraisal via reduced anticipatory prefrontal "cognitive" elaboration and better integration of affective information in paralimbic and subcortical systems.

Suggested Citation

Denny, Bryan and Ochsner, Kevin N. and Weber, Jochen and Wager, Tor, Anticipatory Brain Activity Predicts the Success or Failure of Subsequent Emotion Regulation (October 24, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2858517

Bryan Denny

Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

Kevin N. Ochsner

Columbia University - Department of Psychology ( email )

406 Schermerhorn Hall
1190 Amsterdam Avenue, Mail Code 5501
New York, NY 10027
United States

Jochen Weber

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Tor Wager (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Boulder, CO

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