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Psychol Sci. 2003 Nov;14(6):612-7.

Now you feel it, now you don't: frontal brain electrical asymmetry and individual differences in emotion regulation.

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University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


Recent theoretical accounts of emotion regulation assign an important role in this process to the prefrontal cortex, yet there is little relevant data available to support this hypothesis. The current study assessed the relation between individual differences in asymmetric prefrontal activation and an objective measure of uninstructed emotion regulation. Forty-seven participants 57 to 60 years old viewed emotionally arousing and neutral visual stimuli while eyeblink startle data were collected. Startle probes were also presented after picture presentation to capture the persistence or attenuation of affect following the offset of an emotional stimulus. Subjects with greater relative left-sided anterior activation in scalp-recorded brain electrical signals displayed attenuated startle magnitude after the offset of negative stimuli. This relation between resting frontal activation and recovery following an aversive event supports the idea of a frontally mediated mechanism involved in one form of automatic emotion regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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