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Brain systems underlying attentional control and emotional distraction during working memory encoding
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2014 (English)In: NeuroImage, ISSN 1053-8119, E-ISSN 1095-9572, Vol. 87, 276-286 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goal-directed behavior requires that cognitive operations can be protected from emotional distraction induced by task-irrelevant emotional stimuli. The brain processes involved in attending to relevant information while filtering out irrelevant information are still largely unknown. To investigate the neural and behavioral underpinnings of attending to task-relevant emotional stimuli while ignoring irrelevant stimuli, we used fMRI to assess brain responses during attentional instructed encoding within an emotional working memory (WM) paradigm. We showed that instructed attention to emotion during WM encoding resulted in enhanced performance, by means of increased memory performance and reduced reaction time, compared to passive viewing. A similar performance benefit was also demonstrated for recognition memory performance, although for positive pictures only. Functional MRI data revealed a network of regions involved in directed attention to emotional information for both positive and negative pictures that included medial and lateral prefrontal cortices, fusiform gyrus, insula, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the amygdala. Moreover, we demonstrate that regions in the striatum, and regions associated with the default-mode network were differentially activated for emotional distraction compared to neutral distraction. Activation in a sub-set of these regions was related to individual differences in WM and recognition memory performance, thus likely contributing to performing the task at an optimal level. The present results provide initial insights into the behavioral and neural consequences of instructed attention and emotional distraction during WM encoding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 87, 276-286 p.
Keyword [en]
fMRI, Emotion, Amygdala, Working memory, Emotional distraction, Interference control, Selective attention, Top-down, Bottom-up, Fronto-parietal, Default-mode
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-219956DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.048ISI: 000330554000027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-219956DiVA: diva2:704610
Available from: 2014-03-12 Created: 2014-03-09 Last updated: 2014-03-12Bibliographically approved

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