Greater cortical thickness within the limbic visceromotor network predicts higher levels of trait emotional awareness

Ryan Smith, Sahil Bajaj, Natalie S. Dailey, Anna Alkozei, Courtney Smith, Anna Sanova, Richard D Lane, William Killgore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Previous studies of trait emotional awareness (EA) have not yet examined whether differences in cortical structure might account for differences in EA. Based on previous research on the relationship between EA and both emotion conceptualization and visceromotor control processes, we tested two hypotheses in a sample of 26 healthy participants: that higher EA would be predicted by greater cortical thickness within (1) regions of the default mode network (DMN; linked with conceptualization processes), and/or (2) regions of the limbic network (linked with affect generation and visceromotor control processes). A non-significant correlation was found between EA and cortical thickness in the DMN. In contrast, a significant positive correlation was observed between EA and cortical thickness within the limbic network. These findings suggest that the structural integrity of cortical regions involved in the generation of affective bodily reactions may play a more important role in explaining differences in EA than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-61
Number of pages8
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018



  • Emotion
  • Emotional awareness
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Ventromedial prefrontal cortex
  • Visceromotor control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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