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Social support modulates subjective and neural responses to sad mental imagery.
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2019 (English)In: Behavioural Brain Research, ISSN 0166-4328, E-ISSN 1872-7549, article id 112433Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Mental imagery related to the recent death of a loved one is associated with intense sadness and distress. Social relations, such as with one's significant other, can regulate negative emotions and provide comfort, but the neural correlates of social comfort are largely unknown. In this functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we examined brain responses to sad mental imagery and how these are modulated by holding hands with one's romantic partner. We found that mental imagery of a recently deceased loved one was associated with increased reactivity in the dorsal striatum, medial prefrontal cortex, anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, thalamus and cerebellum. Holding hands with one's partner as compared to being alone or holding hands with a stranger provided subjective comfort and reduced neural reactivity in the dorsal striatum without affecting the vividness of the imagery. Our findings indicate an important role for the dorsal striatum in sad mental imagery and social comfort and suggest that tactile social support by one's romantic partner regulates subjective distress through other processes than mere distraction from the mental imagery.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. article id 112433
Keywords [en]
attachment, dorsal striatum, fmri, holding hands, social support
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-400348DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112433PubMedID: 31843658OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-400348DiVA, id: diva2:1381027
Available from: 2019-12-19 Created: 2019-12-19 Last updated: 2020-02-06Bibliographically approved

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