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Neural circuits of emotion regulation: a comparison of mindfulness-based and cognitive reappraisal strategies


Opialla, Sarah; Lutz, Jacqueline; Scherpiet, Sigrid; Hittmeyer, Anna; Jäncke, Lutz; Rufer, Michael; Grosse Holtforth, Martin; Herwig, Uwe; Brühl, Annette B (2015). Neural circuits of emotion regulation: a comparison of mindfulness-based and cognitive reappraisal strategies. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, 265(1):45-55.

Abstract

Dealing with one's emotions is a core skill in everyday life. Effective cognitive control strategies have been shown to be neurobiologically represented in prefrontal structures regulating limbic regions. In addition to cognitive strategies, mindfulness-associated methods are increasingly applied in psychotherapy. We compared the neurobiological mechanisms of these two strategies, i.e. cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness, during both the cued expectation and perception of negative and potentially negative emotional pictures. Fifty-three healthy participants were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (47 participants included in analysis). Twenty-four subjects applied mindfulness, 23 used cognitive reappraisal. On the neurofunctional level, both strategies were associated with comparable activity of the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. When expecting negative versus neutral stimuli, the mindfulness group showed stronger activations in ventro- and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supramarginal gyrus as well as in the left insula. During the perception of negative versus neutral stimuli, the two groups only differed in an increased activity in the caudate in the cognitive group. Altogether, both strategies recruited overlapping brain regions known to be involved in emotion regulation. This result suggests that common neural circuits are involved in the emotion regulation by mindfulness-based and cognitive reappraisal strategies. Identifying differential activations being associated with the two strategies in this study might be one step towards a better understanding of differential mechanisms of change underlying frequently used psychotherapeutic interventions.

Abstract

Dealing with one's emotions is a core skill in everyday life. Effective cognitive control strategies have been shown to be neurobiologically represented in prefrontal structures regulating limbic regions. In addition to cognitive strategies, mindfulness-associated methods are increasingly applied in psychotherapy. We compared the neurobiological mechanisms of these two strategies, i.e. cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness, during both the cued expectation and perception of negative and potentially negative emotional pictures. Fifty-three healthy participants were examined with functional magnetic resonance imaging (47 participants included in analysis). Twenty-four subjects applied mindfulness, 23 used cognitive reappraisal. On the neurofunctional level, both strategies were associated with comparable activity of the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. When expecting negative versus neutral stimuli, the mindfulness group showed stronger activations in ventro- and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supramarginal gyrus as well as in the left insula. During the perception of negative versus neutral stimuli, the two groups only differed in an increased activity in the caudate in the cognitive group. Altogether, both strategies recruited overlapping brain regions known to be involved in emotion regulation. This result suggests that common neural circuits are involved in the emotion regulation by mindfulness-based and cognitive reappraisal strategies. Identifying differential activations being associated with the two strategies in this study might be one step towards a better understanding of differential mechanisms of change underlying frequently used psychotherapeutic interventions.

Citations

6 citations in Web of Science®
5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:DoktoratPSYCH Erstautor
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:14 Jul 2014 06:18
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 17:58
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0940-1334
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-014-0510-z
PubMed ID:24902936

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