Resolving emotional conflict

Dissociated responses in the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex to bottom-up and top-down components of emotional evaluation.
Wright P, Albarracin D, Brown RD, Li H, He G, Liu Y.
Neuroimage. 2007 Sep 19

Background: Although emotional responses to stimuli may be automatic, explicit evaluation of emotion is a voluntary act. These bottom-up and top-down processes may be supported by distinct neural systems. Previous studies reported bottom-up responses in the amygdala, top-down responses in the orbital and ventromedial prefrontal cortices, and top-down modulation of the amygdalar response.

Methods: The current study used event-related fMRI on fifteen healthy males to examine these responses in the absence of stimulus anticipation or task repetition. Factorial analysis distinguished bottom-up responses in the amygdala from top-down responses in the orbitofrontal cortex.

Results: Activation of ventromedial prefrontal cortex and modulation of amygdalar response were not observed, and future studies may investigate whether these effects are contingent upon anticipation or cognitive set.

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