Exposure to blue wavelength light modulates anterior cingulate cortex activation in response to 'uncertain' versus 'certain' anticipation of positive stimuli

Anna Alkozei, Ryan Smith, William Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Blue wavelength light has been used as an effective treatment for some types of mood disorders and circadian rhythm related sleep problems. We hypothesized that acute exposure to blue wavelength light would directly affect the functioning of neurocircuity implicated in emotion regulation (i.e., ventromedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and anterior cingulate cortex [ACC]) during 'certain' and 'uncertain' anticipation of negative and positive stimuli. Thirty-five healthy adults were randomized to receive a thirty-minute exposure to either blue (active) or amber (placebo) light, immediately followed by an emotional anticipation task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In contrast to placebo, participants in the blue light group showed significantly reduced activation within the rostral ACC during 'uncertain' anticipation (i.e., uncertainty regarding whether a positive or negative stimulus would be shown) in comparison to 'certain' anticipation of a positive stimulus. These findings may be explicable in terms of interactions between blue light exposure and the influence of specific neuromodulators on ACC-mediated decision-making mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Publication statusPublished - Mar 11 2016



  • Anterior cingulate cortex
  • Blue light
  • Emotional anticipation
  • FMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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