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Automatic emotion processing as a function of trait emotional awareness: An fMRI study


Lichev, Vladimir; Sacher, Julia; Ihme, Klas; Rosenberg, Nicole; Quirin, Markus; Lepsien, Jöran; Pampel, André; Rufer, Michael; Grabe, Hans-Jörgen; Kugel, Harald; Kersting, Anette; Villringer, Arno; Lane, Richard D; Suslow, Thomas (2015). Automatic emotion processing as a function of trait emotional awareness: An fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(5):680-689.

Abstract

It is unclear whether reflective awareness of emotions is related to extent and intensity of implicit affective reactions. This study is the first to investigate automatic brain reactivity to emotional stimuli as a function of trait emotional awareness. To assess emotional awareness the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS) was administered. During scanning, masked happy, angry, fearful and neutral facial expressions were presented to 46 healthy subjects, who had to rate the fit between artificial and emotional words. The rating procedure allowed assessment of shifts in implicit affectivity due to emotion faces. Trait emotional awareness was associated with increased activation in the primary somatosensory cortex, inferior parietal lobule, anterior cingulate gyrus, middle frontal and cerebellar areas, thalamus, putamen and amygdala in response to masked happy faces. LEAS correlated positively with shifts in implicit affect caused by masked happy faces. According to our findings, people with high emotional awareness show stronger affective reactivity and more activation in brain areas involved in emotion processing and simulation during the perception of masked happy facial expression than people with low emotional awareness. High emotional awareness appears to be characterized by an enhanced positive affective resonance to others at an automatic processing level.

Abstract

It is unclear whether reflective awareness of emotions is related to extent and intensity of implicit affective reactions. This study is the first to investigate automatic brain reactivity to emotional stimuli as a function of trait emotional awareness. To assess emotional awareness the Levels of Emotional Awareness Scale (LEAS) was administered. During scanning, masked happy, angry, fearful and neutral facial expressions were presented to 46 healthy subjects, who had to rate the fit between artificial and emotional words. The rating procedure allowed assessment of shifts in implicit affectivity due to emotion faces. Trait emotional awareness was associated with increased activation in the primary somatosensory cortex, inferior parietal lobule, anterior cingulate gyrus, middle frontal and cerebellar areas, thalamus, putamen and amygdala in response to masked happy faces. LEAS correlated positively with shifts in implicit affect caused by masked happy faces. According to our findings, people with high emotional awareness show stronger affective reactivity and more activation in brain areas involved in emotion processing and simulation during the perception of masked happy facial expression than people with low emotional awareness. High emotional awareness appears to be characterized by an enhanced positive affective resonance to others at an automatic processing level.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version [Lichev, Vladimir; Sacher, Julia; Ihme, Klas; Rosenberg, Nicole; Quirin, Markus; Lepsien, Jöran; Pampel, André; Rufer, Michael; Grabe, Hans-Jörgen; Kugel, Harald; Kersting, Anette; Villringer, Arno; Lane, Richard D; Suslow, Thomas (2014). Automatic emotion processing as a function of trait emotional awareness: An fMRI study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience:Epub ahead of print.] is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu104.
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:14 Jan 2015 12:39
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 09:50
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1749-5016
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsu104
PubMed ID:25140051

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