Inhibition of Lateral Prefrontal Cortex Produces Emotionally Biased First Impressions: A Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and Electroencephalography Study.
Lapate Regina C,Samaha Jason,Rokers Bas,Hamzah Hamdi,Postle Bradley R,Davidson Richard J
Optimal functioning in everyday life requires the ability to override reflexive emotional responses and prevent affective spillover to situations or people unrelated to the source of emotion. In the current study, we investigated whether the lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC) causally regulates the influence of emotional information on subsequent judgments. We disrupted left lPFC function using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and recorded electroencephalography (EEG) before and after. Subjects evaluated the likeability of novel neutral faces after a brief exposure to a happy or fearful face. We found that lPFC inhibition biased evaluations of novel faces according to the previously processed emotional expression. Greater frontal EEG alpha power, reflecting increased inhibition by TMS, predicted increased behavioral bias. TMS-induced affective misattribution was long-lasting: Emotionally biased first impressions formed during lPFC inhibition were still detectable outside of the laboratory 3 days later. These findings indicate that lPFC serves an important emotion-regulation function by preventing incidental emotional encoding from automatically biasing subsequent appraisals.
Dissociating cognitive, behavioral and physiological stress-related responses through dorsolateral prefrontal cortex inhibition.
Era Vanessa,Carnevali Luca,Thayer Julian F,Candidi Matteo,Ottaviani Cristina
The left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) has been implicated in the regulation of stress-related cognitive processes and physiological responses and is the principal target of noninvasive brain stimulation techniques applied to psychiatric conditions. However, existing studies are mostly correlational and causal evidence on the role of this region in mediating specific psychophysiological mechanisms underpinning stress-related responses are needed to make the application of such techniques more efficient. To fill this gap, this study used inhibitory continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS) in healthy individuals to examine the extent to which activity of the left dlPFC is associated with cognitive (subjective focus on a tracking task), behavioral (reaction times and variability), and physiological responses (heart rate and its variability and cortisol level) following induction of perseverative cognition. Compared to sham and left ventral PreMotor area stimulation (as active control area), inhibition of left dlPFC determined sustained autonomic and neuroendocrine activation and increased the subjective perception of being task-focused, while not changing the behavioral and self-reported stress-related responses. Adopting a causative approach, we describe a role of left dlPFC in inhibitory control of the physiological stress-response associated to perseverative thinking.