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Psychol Sci. 2015 Sep;26(9):1377-88. doi: 10.1177/0956797615578863. Epub 2015 Jul 31.

Getting Over It: Long-Lasting Effects of Emotion Regulation on Amygdala Response.

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Columbia University
New York University.
Columbia University.


Little is known about whether emotion regulation can have lasting effects on the ability of a stimulus to continue eliciting affective responses in the future. We addressed this issue in this study. Participants cognitively reappraised negative images once or four times, and then 1 week later, they passively viewed old and new images, so that we could identify lasting effects of prior reappraisal. As in prior work, active reappraisal increased prefrontal responses but decreased amygdala responses and self-reported emotion. At 1 week, amygdala responses remained attenuated for images that had been repeatedly reappraised compared with images that had been reappraised once, new control images, and control images that had been seen as many times as reappraised images but had never been reappraised. Prefrontal activation was not selectively elevated for repeatedly reappraised images and was not related to long-term attenuation of amygdala responses. These results suggest that reappraisal can exert long-lasting "dose-dependent" effects on amygdala response that may cause lasting changes in the neural representation of an unpleasant event's emotional value.


amygdala; emotion regulation; fMRI; long-term effects; reappraisal

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