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Anticipating the good and the bad : a study on the neural correlates of bivalent emotion anticipation and their malleability via attentional deployment

(2018) NEUROIMAGE. 183. p.553-564
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Abstract
In everyday life, we often deliberate about affective outcomes of decisions which can be described as ambivalent; i.e. positive and negative at the same time. For example, when looking forward to meet a dear friend at her/his favorite concert although one dislikes the music that is being performed. Thus, anticipation of bivalent emotions and their volitional regulation is an important ingredient of everyday choices. However, previous studies investigating neural substrates involved in anticipating emotional events mostly focused on anticipating either negative emotions (punishment) or positive emotions (reward) in isolation, thus inducing either of them separately. Furthermore, these studies rather focused on the effortful down-regulation of affect (i.e. reducing negative or positive affect), whereas such conflict situations may also require us to deploy attention on and thereby upregulate anticipated emotions in order to resolve a decision conflict (e.g., by focusing on positive consequences while orienting away from negative consequences of that same situation). To address this gap, we performed a series of three fMRI-experiments using simple visual and auditory stimuli in order to (i) determine the neural correlates involved when anticipating a bivalent affective outcome that is both positive and negative at the same time – related to a conflict situation and (ii) investigate their malleability during anticipation via voluntary emotion regulation using attentional focusing. In these studies, we (i) demonstrate that brain areas involved in anticipating positive (ventral striatum) and negative (anterior insula) emotional events are co-activated when anticipating the occurrence of both punishment and reward at the same time and (ii) provide evidence that attention on either the positive or the negative correlates with a shift in activations of these co-activated neural networks and associated anticipated emotions towards either the positive (increased activity in ventral striatum, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex) or the negative (increased activity in insula) aspect of the upcoming bivalent outcome. In summary, we provide self-report and neural evidence for the assumption that affective brain systems associated with the processing of bivalent anticipated emotions can be voluntarily controlled by cognitive emotion regulation strategies.
Keywords
Cognitive Neuroscience, Neurology

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Citation

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Chicago
Kruschwitz, Johann D., Lea Waller, David List, David Wisniewski, Vera U. Ludwig, Franziska Korb, Uta Wolfensteller, Thomas Goschke, and Henrik Walter. 2018. “Anticipating the Good and the Bad : a Study on the Neural Correlates of Bivalent Emotion Anticipation and Their Malleability via Attentional Deployment.” Neuroimage 183: 553–564.
APA
Kruschwitz, J. D., Waller, L., List, D., Wisniewski, D., Ludwig, V. U., Korb, F., Wolfensteller, U., et al. (2018). Anticipating the good and the bad : a study on the neural correlates of bivalent emotion anticipation and their malleability via attentional deployment. NEUROIMAGE, 183, 553–564.
Vancouver
1.
Kruschwitz JD, Waller L, List D, Wisniewski D, Ludwig VU, Korb F, et al. Anticipating the good and the bad : a study on the neural correlates of bivalent emotion anticipation and their malleability via attentional deployment. NEUROIMAGE. Elsevier BV; 2018;183:553–64.
MLA
Kruschwitz, Johann D. et al. “Anticipating the Good and the Bad : a Study on the Neural Correlates of Bivalent Emotion Anticipation and Their Malleability via Attentional Deployment.” NEUROIMAGE 183 (2018): 553–564. Print.
@article{8584168,
  abstract     = {In everyday life, we often deliberate about affective outcomes of decisions which can be described as ambivalent; i.e. positive and negative at the same time. For example, when looking forward to meet a dear friend at her/his favorite concert although one dislikes the music that is being performed. Thus, anticipation of bivalent emotions and their volitional regulation is an important ingredient of everyday choices. However, previous studies investigating neural substrates involved in anticipating emotional events mostly focused on anticipating either negative emotions (punishment) or positive emotions (reward) in isolation, thus inducing either of them separately. Furthermore, these studies rather focused on the effortful down-regulation of affect (i.e. reducing negative or positive affect), whereas such conflict situations may also require us to deploy attention on and thereby upregulate anticipated emotions in order to resolve a decision conflict (e.g., by focusing on positive consequences while orienting away from negative consequences of that same situation). To address this gap, we performed a series of three fMRI-experiments using simple visual and auditory stimuli in order to (i) determine the neural correlates involved when anticipating a bivalent affective outcome that is both positive and negative at the same time – related to a conflict situation and (ii) investigate their malleability during anticipation via voluntary emotion regulation using attentional focusing. In these studies, we (i) demonstrate that brain areas involved in anticipating positive (ventral striatum) and negative (anterior insula) emotional events are co-activated when anticipating the occurrence of both punishment and reward at the same time and (ii) provide evidence that attention on either the positive or the negative correlates with a shift in activations of these co-activated neural networks and associated anticipated emotions towards either the positive (increased activity in ventral striatum, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex) or the negative (increased activity in insula) aspect of the upcoming bivalent outcome. In summary, we provide self-report and neural evidence for the assumption that affective brain systems associated with the processing of bivalent anticipated emotions can be voluntarily controlled by cognitive emotion regulation strategies.},
  author       = {Kruschwitz, Johann D. and Waller, Lea and List, David and Wisniewski, David and Ludwig, Vera U. and Korb, Franziska and Wolfensteller, Uta and Goschke, Thomas and Walter, Henrik},
  issn         = {1053-8119},
  journal      = {NEUROIMAGE},
  keywords     = {Cognitive Neuroscience,Neurology},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {553--564},
  publisher    = {Elsevier BV},
  title        = {Anticipating the good and the bad : a study on the neural correlates of bivalent emotion anticipation and their malleability via attentional deployment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.08.048},
  volume       = {183},
  year         = {2018},
}

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