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Brain systems underlying attentional control and emotional distraction during working memory encoding
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology. Uppsala Universitet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aging Research Center (ARC), (together with KI).
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
Orlando, Fla: Academic Press, 2014. Vol. 87, 276-286 p.
National Category
Neurosciences Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100155DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.10.048ISI: 000330554000027OAI: diva2:691523

AuthorCount: 3

Available from: 2014-01-28 Created: 2014-01-28 Last updated: 2014-02-27Bibliographically approved

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