Common and unique neural systems underlying the working memory maintenance of emotional vs. bodily reactions to affective stimuli: The moderating role of trait emotional awareness

Ryan Smith, Richard D. Lane, Anna Sanova, Anna Alkozei, Courtney Smith, William D.S. Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many leading theories suggest that the neural processes underlying the experience of one’s own emotional reactions partially overlap with those underlying bodily perception (i.e., interoception, somatosensation, and proprioception). However, the goal-directed maintenance of one’s own emotions in working memory (EWM) has not yet been compared to WM maintenance of one’s own bodily reactions (BWM). In this study, we contrasted WM maintenance of emotional vs. bodily reactions to affective stimuli in 26 healthy individuals while they underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging. Specifically, we examined the a priori hypothesis that individual differences in trait emotional awareness (tEA) would lead to greater differences between these two WM conditions within medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). We observed that MPFC activation during EWM (relative to BWM) was positively associated with tEA. Whole-brain analyses otherwise suggested considerable similarity in the neural activation patterns associated with EWM and BWM. In conjunction with previous literature, our findings not only support a central role of body state representation/maintenance in EWM, but also suggest greater engagement of MPFC-mediated conceptualization processes during EWM in those with higher tEA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number370
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 18 2018

Keywords

  • Body perception
  • Emotion
  • Emotional awareness
  • Insula
  • Interoception
  • Medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC)
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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