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Neuroimage. 2014 Nov 1;101:298-309. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.051. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

Common and differential neural networks of emotion regulation by Detachment, Reinterpretation, Distraction, and Expressive Suppression: a comparative fMRI investigation.

Author information

1
Division of Mind and Brain Research, Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
2
Division of Mind and Brain Research, Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Psychology, Unter den Linden 6, 10999 Berlin, Germany.
3
Psychotherapeutische Praxis, Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz 19, 53111 Bonn, Germany.
4
Division of Mind and Brain Research, Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: susanne.erk@charite.de.
5
Division of Mind and Brain Research, Department of Psychiatry & Psychotherapy, CCM, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: henrik.walter@charite.de.

Abstract

Emotions are an indispensable part of our mental life. The term emotion regulation refers to those processes that influence the generation, the experience and the expression of emotions. There is a great variety of strategies to regulate emotions efficiently, which are used in daily life and that have been investigated by cognitive neuroscience. Distraction guides attention to a secondary task. Reinterpretation, a variant of cognitive reappraisal, works by changing the meaning of an emotional stimulus. Detachment, another reappraisal strategy, refers to distancing oneself from an emotional stimulus, thereby reducing its personal relevance. Expressive Suppression modifies the behavioral or physiological response to an emotional stimulus. These four strategies are not equally effective in terms of emotion regulation success and have been shown to partly rely on different neuronal systems. Here, we compare for the first time the neural mechanisms of these typical strategies directly in a common functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm of downregulation of negative emotions. Our results indicate that three of those strategies (Detachment, Expressive Suppression and Distraction) conjointly increase brain activation in a right prefronto-parietal regulation network and significantly reduce activation of the left amygdala. Compared to the other regulation strategies, Reinterpretation specifically recruited a different control network comprising left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and orbitofrontal gyrus and was not effective in downregulation of the amygdala. We conclude that Detachment, Distraction and Expressive Suppression recruit very similar emotion regulation networks, whereas Reinterpretation is associated with activation of a qualitatively different network, making this regulation strategy a special one. Notably, Reinterpretation also proved to be the least effective strategy in neural terms, as measured by downregulation of amygdala activation.

KEYWORDS:

Detachment; Distraction; Emotion Regulation; Expressive Suppression; Reinterpretation; fMRI

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