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J Neurosci. 2015 Jul 22;35(29):10503-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0569-15.2015.

The Neurodynamics of Affect in the Laboratory Predicts Persistence of Real-World Emotional Responses.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, and aheller@miami.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, and.
3
Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, and.
4
Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53705, and HealthEmotions Research Institute, Department of Psychiatry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53719.

Abstract

Failure to sustain positive affect over time is a hallmark of depression and other psychopathologies, but the mechanisms supporting the ability to sustain positive emotional responses are poorly understood. Here, we investigated the neural correlates associated with the persistence of positive affect in the real world by conducting two experiments in humans: an fMRI task of reward responses and an experience-sampling task measuring emotional responses to a reward obtained in the field. The magnitude of DLPFC engagement to rewards administered in the laboratory predicted reactivity of real-world positive emotion following a reward administered in the field. Sustained ventral striatum engagement in the laboratory positively predicted the duration of real-world positive emotional responses. These results suggest that common pathways are associated with the unfolding of neural processes over seconds and with the dynamics of emotions experienced over minutes. Examining such dynamics may facilitate a better understanding of the brain-behavior associations underlying emotion. Significance statement: How real-world emotion, experienced over seconds, minutes, and hours, is instantiated in the brain over the course of milliseconds and seconds is unknown. We combined a novel, real-world experience-sampling task with fMRI to examine how individual differences in real-world emotion, experienced over minutes and hours, is subserved by affective neurodynamics of brain activity over the course of seconds. When winning money in the real world, individuals sustaining positive emotion the longest were those with the most prolonged ventral striatal activity. These results suggest that common pathways are associated with the unfolding of neural processes over seconds and with the dynamics of emotions experienced over minutes. Examining such dynamics may facilitate a better understanding of the brain-behavior associations underlying emotion.

KEYWORDS:

PFC; ecological momentary assessment; emotion; positive emotion; temporal dynamics; ventral striatum

PMID:
26203145
PMCID:
PMC4510290
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0569-15.2015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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