Trait self-consciousness predicts amygdala activation and its functional brain connectivity during emotional suppression: an fMRI analysis.
ABSTRACT: The present functional magnetic resonance imaging study investigated how trait neuroticism and its heterogeneous subdimensions are related to the emotional consequences and neural underpinnings of emotion regulation. Two levels of neuroticism assessments were conducted with 47 female subjects, who were required to attend to, suppress emotion displays to, or cognitively reappraise the meanings of negative images. The results showed reduced emotional experience and bilateral amygdala activation during reappraisal, and this regulation effect is unaffected by individual differences in neuroticism and its subdimensions. By contrast, the emotion downregulation effect of suppression in the right amygdala is compromised with increasing self-consciousness but not overall neuroticism dimension. This association holds robust after controlling the potential contribution of habitual suppression. Moreover, the psychophysiological interaction (PPI) analysis revealed that self-consciousness predicts weaker functional coupling of the right amygdala to supplementary motor area and putamen during expressive suppression, two regions mediating the control and execution of motor actions. These findings suggest that self-consciousness predicts increased difficulty in emotional regulation using expressive suppression; and that the heterogeneous nature of trait neuroticism needs to be considered in exploring the association of neuroticism and emotion regulation.
Project description:Males are known for more suppression of emotional displays than females. However, when the emotion regulation effect of expressive suppression is greater in males, and how this sex difference varies with emotion display-related personality (e.g., extraversion), are undetermined. Event-related potentials were recorded while male and female participants different in extraversion were required to attend to or suppress emotional expression to negative pictures. Sex and extraversion did not modulate self-reported emotional experience. However, late positive potential (LPP) amplitudes showed an extraversion-moderated sex difference in the 2000-3000 ms and the 3000-4000 ms time epochs. LPP amplitudes were decreased during suppression versus viewing conditions in ambivert males, while this effect was absent in ambivert females. However, the LPP amplitudes of extraverts were similar for suppression and viewing conditions, irrespective of sex and timing. Regardless of early, middle, or late time windows, LPP amplitudes were positively related to self-reported emotion. These results suggest a male advantage for using expressive suppression for emotion regulation in non-extraverted, ambivert individuals.
Project description:Teaching is an emotionally challenging profession, sometimes resulting in high levels of teacher stress, burnout, and attrition. It has often been claimed that certain emotion regulation strategies can lower teachers' feelings of burnout. The use of cognitive reappraisal (i.e., cognitively changing the emotional impact of a situation) has generally been associated with positive outcomes, whereas using expressive suppression (i.e., inhibiting emotional responses) usually has negative consequences. The present study investigated the association between teachers' typical use of these two emotion regulation strategies (i.e., cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression) and their feelings of emotional exhaustion. Because there is evidence that regulating emotions could involve higher costs when regulation goes against individual preferences, we also explored the potentially moderating effect of teachers' implicit attitudes toward emotion regulation versus emotion expression on the association between typical use of emotion regulation strategies and teachers' emotional exhaustion with an Implicit Association Test (IAT). We included the interpersonal teacher-student relationship (in terms of teacher agency and communion), teacher experience, and teacher gender as covariates in our analyses. Participants were 94 teachers in secondary education, vocational education, and teacher training for secondary education. Replicating findings from prior studies, hierarchical regression analyses showed that typical use of cognitive reappraisal, but not expressive suppression, was significantly related to lower levels of teachers' emotional exhaustion. Teachers' implicit attitudes toward emotion regulation versus emotion expression moderated the relationship between the use of emotion regulation strategies and emotional exhaustion, but only in a subsample with more experienced teachers. Teachers who showed more interpersonal agency in class and had more years of teaching experience reported lower levels of emotional exhaustion. Interpersonal communion and gender were not directly associated with feelings of exhaustion. Implications for teacher training and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Project description:It has long been thought that emotional intelligence (EI) involves skillful emotion regulation, but surprisingly little is known about the precise links between EI and emotion regulation. To address this gap in the literature, we examined the relation between EI-operationalised as an ability-and the use of two common emotion regulation strategies-cognitive reappraisal and expressive suppression. Seven hundred and twelve participants from a community sample in Spain were assessed on ability EI (using the MSCEIT) and emotion regulation (using the ERQ). Findings revealed that EI ability was positively associated with cognitive reappraisal and negatively associated with expressive suppression. These relationships were moderated by gender and age. The strength of the association between EI and cognitive reappraisal increased with age for men, while this strength decreased with age for women. Conversely, the strength of the association between EI and suppression decreased with age for men, but increased with age for women. These findings confirm the expectation that EI is associated with greater use of generally adaptive forms of emotion regulation (reappraisal), and lesser use of generally maladaptive forms of emotion regulation (suppression), although effect sizes were quite modest. Observed differences in the strength of associations between EI and emotion regulation may be the result of gender differences in the development of emotional skills along with cultural changes in emotional education and social norms.
Project description:This study addresses three questions: How often and how consistently do predictors for emotion regulation choice occur in daily life? What predicts emotion regulation choice in daily life? How do predictors for emotion regulation choice interact in daily life? We examined emotion regulation goals (i.e., prohedonic and social goals), situational factors (i.e., perceived control, expected reoccurrence, and emotional intensity), and emotion regulation strategies (i.e., active coping, distraction, rumination, cognitive reappraisal, and expressive suppression) in negative emotion events. A total of 110 individuals (65% female) participated in an experience sampling study and received beeps, five times a day over the course of 9 days. We used a random intercept model to estimate our results. Emotion regulation goals and situational factors vary strongly in different events within the same person. Emotion regulation strategies, effective in changing the emotional experience, are crucial for prohedonic goals, whereas expressive suppression is important for social goals. Perceived control was positively associated with putatively adaptive strategies. Emotional intensity and expected reoccurrence were negatively associated with putatively adaptive strategies. Emotional intensity was positively associated with putatively maladaptive strategies. Emotion regulation strategies were not associated with the interaction of emotion regulation goals and situational factors. We conclude that emotion regulation goals and situational factors are extremely context-dependent, suggesting that they should be treated as states. Emotion regulation goals appear to have a functional association with strategies for prohedonic and social goals. The associations between situational factors and strategies in daily life appear to be largely different from the results found in the laboratory, emphasizing the importance of experience sampling studies.
Project description:Previous research has shown that the habit of suppressing emotional expressions is associated with long-term, general reductions in social cognitive abilities and interpersonal adjustment. This may be because theoretically, habitual suppression requires the fixation of attention to the self instead of to others. The present research explored the association between the habitual tendency to suppress one's own emotions and accuracy in recognizing the emotions of others. Emotion recognition accuracy was tested across two tasks, a limited-channel task that presents limited emotional information and a multimodal full-channel task. We further explored cultural differences in this association given that expressive suppression may be normative for individuals of Asian descent due to cultural motivations toward social harmony and interdependence. Our findings revealed few cultural group differences. U.S.-born Asian Americans outperformed foreign-born Asian Americans and European Americans in limited-channel emotion recognition. However, the three groups did not differ in terms of interdependent self-construal, habitual emotion suppression, and full-channel emotion recognition ability. Interdependent self-construal was related to greater habitual suppression and emotion recognition accuracy in the full-channel task. Habitual emotion suppression was negatively related to limited-channel but not full-channel emotion recognition. There was no evidence of cultural differences in the link between habitual suppression and emotion recognition.
Project description:Our sense of self is strongly colored by emotions although at the same time we are well able to distinguish affect and self. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we here tested for the differential effects of self-relatedness and emotion dimensions (valence, intensity) on parametric modulation of neural activity during perception of emotional stimuli. We observed opposite parametric modulation of self-relatedness and emotion dimensions in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex and the ventral striatum/nucleus accumbens, whereas neural activity in subcortical regions (tectum, right amygdala, hypothalamus) was modulated by self-relatedness and emotion dimensions in the same direction. In sum, our results demonstrate that self-relatedness is closely linked to emotion dimensions of valence and intensity in many lower subcortical brain regions involved in basic emotional systems and, at the same time, distinct from them in higher cortical regions that mediate cognitive processes necessary for becoming aware of one's self, for example self-consciousness. Hum
Project description:Childhood maltreatment is associated with increased risk for most forms of psychopathology. We examine emotion dysregulation as a transdiagnostic mechanism linking maltreatment with general psychopathology. A sample of 262 children and adolescents participated; 162 (61.8%) experienced abuse or exposure to domestic violence. We assessed four emotion regulation processes (cognitive reappraisal, attention bias to threat, expressive suppression, and rumination) and emotional reactivity. Psychopathology symptoms were assessed concurrently and at a 2-year longitudinal follow-up. A general psychopathology factor (p factor), representing co-occurrence of psychopathology symptoms across multiple internalizing and externalizing domains, was estimated using confirmatory factor analysis. Maltreatment was associated with heightened emotional reactivity and greater use of expressive suppression and rumination. The association of maltreatment with attention bias varied across development, with maltreated children exhibiting a bias toward threat and adolescents a bias away from threat. Greater emotional reactivity and engagement in rumination mediated the longitudinal association between maltreatment and increased general psychopathology over time. Emotion dysregulation following childhood maltreatment occurs at multiple stages of the emotion generation process, in some cases varies across development, and serves as a transdiagnostic mechanism linking child maltreatment with general psychopathology.
Project description:The amygdala has been regarded as a key substrate for emotion processing. However, the engagement of the left and right amygdala during the early perceptual processing of different emotional faces remains unclear. We investigated the temporal profiles of oscillatory gamma activity in the amygdala and effective connectivity of the amygdala with the thalamus and cortical areas during implicit emotion-perceptual tasks using event-related magnetoencephalography (MEG). We found that within 100 ms after stimulus onset the right amygdala habituated to emotional faces rapidly (with duration around 20-30 ms), whereas activity in the left amygdala (with duration around 50-60 ms) sustained longer than that in the right. Our data suggest that the right amygdala could be linked to autonomic arousal generated by facial emotions and the left amygdala might be involved in decoding or evaluating expressive faces in the early perceptual emotion processing. The results of effective connectivity provide evidence that only negative emotional processing engages both cortical and subcortical pathways connected to the right amygdala, representing its evolutional significance (survival). These findings demonstrate the asymmetric engagement of bilateral amygdala in emotional face processing as well as the capability of MEG for assessing thalamo-cortico-limbic circuitry.
Project description:Mindfulness, an attentive non-judgmental focus on "here and now" experiences, has been incorporated into various cognitive behavioral therapy approaches and beneficial effects have been demonstrated. Recently, mindfulness has also been identified as a potentially effective emotion regulation strategy. On the other hand, emotion suppression, which refers to trying to avoid or escape from experiencing and being aware of one's own emotions, has been identified as a potentially maladaptive strategy. Previous studies suggest that both strategies can decrease affective responses to emotional stimuli. They would, however, be expected to provide regulation through different top-down modulation systems. The present study was aimed at elucidating the different neural systems underlying emotion regulation via mindfulness and emotion suppression approaches. Twenty-one healthy participants used the two types of strategy in response to emotional visual stimuli while functional magnetic resonance imaging was conducted. Both strategies attenuated amygdala responses to emotional triggers, but the pathways to regulation differed across the two. A mindful approach appears to regulate amygdala functioning via functional connectivity from the medial prefrontal cortex, while suppression uses connectivity with other regions, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Thus, the two types of emotion regulation recruit different top-down modulation processes localized at prefrontal areas. These different pathways are discussed.
Project description:Emotion regulation refers to strategies through which individuals influence their experience and expression of emotions. Two typical strategies are reappraisal, a cognitive strategy for reframing the context of an emotional experience, and suppression, a behavioral strategy for inhibiting emotional responses. Functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that regions of the prefrontal cortex modulate amygdala reactivity during both strategies, but relatively greater downregulation of the amygdala occurs during reappraisal. Moreover, these studies demonstrated that engagement of this modulatory circuitry varies as a function of gender. The uncinate fasciculus is a major structural pathway connecting regions of the anterior temporal lobe, including the amygdala to inferior frontal regions, especially the orbitofrontal cortex. The objective of the current study was to map variability in the structural integrity of the uncinate fasciculus onto individual differences in self-reported typical use of reappraisal and suppression. Diffusion tensor imaging was used in 194 young adults to derive regional fractional anisotropy values for the right and left uncinate fasciculus. All participants also completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. In women but not men, self-reported typical reappraisal use was positively correlated with fractional anisotropy values in a region of the left uncinate fasciculus within the orbitofrontal cortex. In contrast, typical use of suppression was not significantly correlated with fractional anisotropy in any region of the uncinate fasciculus in either men or women. Our data suggest that in women typical reappraisal use is specifically related to the integrity of white matter pathways linking the amygdala and prefrontal cortex.