Put on your poker face? Neural systems supporting the anticipation for expressive suppression and cognitive reappraisal
proactive and reactive control
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AbstractIt is a unique human ability to regulate negative thoughts and feelings. Two well-investigated emotion-regulation strategies (ERSs), cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression, are associated with overlapping prefrontal neural correlates, but differ temporally during the emotion-generation process. Although functional imaging studies have mainly investigated these ERS as a reaction to an emotion-inducing event, the intention to regulate upcoming negative emotions might already be associated with differences in neural activity. Hence, event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging was recorded in 42 participants while they completed an emotion-regulation paradigm. During this task, participants were instructed to proactively prepare to use a specific ERS knowing that a negative, high-arousing image would appear after the preparation period. As expected, the results demonstrated prefrontal and parietal activation while participants were suppressing or reappraising their emotions (family-wise error (FWE)-corrected). The intention to suppress emotions was associated with increased activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral putamen, pre-supplementary motor area and right supramarginal gyrus (FWE-corrected). This enhanced proactive inhibitory control: (i) predicted decreased motoric activity during the actual suppression of emotional expressions and (2) trended toward a significant association with how successfully participants suppressed their emotions. However, neural correlates of preparatory control for cognitive reappraisal were not observed, possibly because contextual cues about the upcoming emotional stimulus are necessary to proactively start to cognitively reinterpret the situation.