Neural Activity to a Partner's Facial Expression Predicts Self-Regulation After Conflict
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CitationHooker, Christine I., Anett Gyurak, Sara C. Verosky, Asako Miyakawa, and Özlem Ayduk. 2010. “Neural Activity to a Partner’s Facial Expression Predicts Self-Regulation After Conflict.” Biological Psychiatry 67 (5) (March): 406–413. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.10.014.
AbstractIntroduction: Failure to self-regulate after an interpersonal conflict can result in
persistent negative mood and maladaptive behaviors. Research indicates that lateral
prefrontal cortex (LPFC) activity is related to the regulation of emotional experience in
response to lab-based affective challenges, such as viewing emotional pictures. This
suggests that compromised LPFC function may be a risk-factor for mood and behavior
problems after an interpersonal stressor. However, it remains unclear whether LPFC
activity to a lab-based affective challenge predicts self-regulation in real-life.
Method: We investigated whether LPFC activity to a lab-based affective challenge
(negative facial expressions of a partner) predicts self-regulation after a real-life affective
challenge (interpersonal conflict). During an fMRI scan, healthy, adult participants in
committed, dating relationships (N = 27) viewed positive, negative, and neutral facial
expressions of their partners. In an online daily-diary, participants reported conflict
occurrence, level of negative mood, rumination, and substance-use.
Results: LPFC activity in response to the lab-based affective challenge predicted self-
regulation after an interpersonal conflict in daily life. When there was no interpersonal
conflict, LPFC activity was not related to the change in mood or behavior the next day.
However, when an interpersonal conflict did occur, ventral LPFC (VLPFC) activity
predicted the change in mood and behavior the next day, such that lower VLPFC activity
was related to higher levels of negative mood, rumination, and substance-use.
Conclusions: Low LPFC function may be a vulnerability and high LPFC function may
be a protective factor for the development of mood and behavior problems after an interpersonal stressor.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:17497807
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