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Neuroimage. 2005 May 15;26(1):206-14.

Same or different? Neural correlates of happy and sad mood in healthy males.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.


Emotional experience in healthy men has been shown to rely on a brain network including subcortical as well as cortical areas in a complex interaction, which may be substantially influenced by many internal personal and external factors such as individuality, gender, stimulus material and task instructions. The divergent results may be interpreted by taking these considerations into account. Hence, many aspects remain to be clarified in characterizing the neural correlates underlying the subjective experience of emotion. One unresolved question refers to the influence of emotion quality on the cerebral substrates. Hence, 26 male healthy subjects were investigated with functional magnetic resonance imaging during standardized sad and happy mood induction as well as a cognitive control task to explore brain responses differentially involved in positive and negative emotional experience. Sad and happy mood in contrast to the control task produced similarly significant activations in the amygdala-hippocampal area extending into the parahippocampal gyrus as well as in the prefrontal and temporal cortex, the anterior cingulate, and the precuneus. Significant valence differences emerged when comparing both tasks directly. More activation has been demonstrated in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the transverse temporal gyrus, and the superior temporal gyrus during sadness. Happiness, on the other hand, produced stronger activations in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), the cingulate gyrus, the inferior temporal gyrus, and the cerebellum. Hence, negative and positive moods reveal distinct cortical activation foci within a common neural network, probably making the difference between qualitatively different emotional feelings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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