Distinct Contributions of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal and Orbitofrontal Cortex during Emotion Regulation

A Golkar, T B Lonsdorf, A Olsson, K M Lindstrom, J Berrebi, P Fransson, M Schalling, M Ingvar, A Öhman: Distinct Contributions of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal and Orbitofrontal Cortex during Emotion Regulation. In: PLoS ONE, 7 (11), pp. e48107, 2012, ISSN: 1932-6203.

Abstract

The lateral prefrontal and orbitofrontal cortices have both been implicated in emotion regulation, but their distinct roles in regulation of negative emotion remain poorly understood. To address this issue we enrolled 58 participants in an fMRI study in which participants were instructed to reappraise both negative and neutral stimuli. This design allowed us to separately study activations reflecting cognitive processes associated with reappraisal in general and activations specifically related to reappraisal of negative emotion. Our results confirmed that both the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) contribute to emotion regulation through reappraisal. However, activity in the DLPFC was related to reappraisal independently of whether negative or neutral stimuli were reappraised, whereas the lateral OFC was uniquely related to reappraisal of negative stimuli. We suggest that relative to the lateral OFC, the DLPFC serves a more general role in emotion regulation, perhaps by reflecting the cognitive demand that is inherent to the regulation task.