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Enhanced insular/prefrontal connectivity when resisting from emotional distraction during visual search
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Integrative Medical Biology (IMB). Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Umeå Centre for Functional Brain Imaging (UFBI). Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00158 Rome, Italy; Neuroimaging Laboratory, IRCCS Santa Lucia Foundation, Via Ardeatina, 306, 00179 Rome, Italy.
2019 (English)In: Brain Structure and Function, ISSN 1863-2653, E-ISSN 1863-2661, Vol. 224, no 6, p. 2009-2026Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Previous literature demonstrated that the processing of emotional stimuli can interfere with goal-directed behavior. This has been shown primarily in the context of working memory tasks, but emotional distraction may affect also other processes, such as the orienting of visuo-spatial attention. During fMRI, we presented human subjects with emotional stimuli embedded within complex everyday life visual scenes. Emotional stimuli could be either the current target to be searched for or task-irrelevant distractors. Behavioral and eye-movement data revealed faster detection of emotional than neutral targets. Emotional distractors were found to be fixated later and for a shorter duration than emotional targets, suggesting efficient top-down control in avoiding emotional distraction. The fMRI data demonstrated that negative (but not positive) stimuli were mandatorily processed by limbic/para-limbic regions (namely, the right amygdala and the left insula), irrespective of current task relevance: that is, these regions activated for both emotional targets and distractors. However, analyses of inter-regional connectivity revealed a functional coupling between the left insula and the right prefrontal cortex that increased specifically during search in the presence of emotional distractors. This indicates that increased functional coupling between affective limbic/para-limbic regions and control regions in the frontal cortex can attenuate emotional distraction, permitting the allocation of spatial attentional resources toward task-relevant neutral targets in the presence of distracting emotional signals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Berlin/Heidelberg, 2019. Vol. 224, no 6, p. 2009-2026
Keywords [en]
Emotions, Visual search, Task relevance, Everyday life scene, Functional connectivity, fMRI, SIMONE R, 1995, ANNUAL REVIEW OF NEUROSCIENCE, V18, P193 n Hooff Johanna C., 2011, SOCIAL COGNITIVE AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE, V6, P477 illeumier P, 2001, NEURON, V30, P829 chara A, 2000, CEREBRAL CORTEX, V10, P295 rsley KJ, 1996, HUMAN BRAIN MAPPING, V4, P58 hnston S. J., 2010, NEUROIMAGE, V49, P1066 ssoa L, 2002, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, V99, P11458 aei Maryam, 2014, NEUROIMAGE, V87, P276
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-161579DOI: 10.1007/s00429-019-01873-1ISI: 000472887900004PubMedID: 31111208OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-161579DiVA, id: diva2:1338941
Available from: 2019-07-25 Created: 2019-07-25 Last updated: 2019-07-25Bibliographically approved

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Pedale, TizianaMacaluso, EmilianoSantangelo, Valerio
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