Comparing neural substrates of emotional vs. non-emotional conflict modulation by global control context.
The efficiency with which the brain resolves conflict in information processing is determined by contextual factors that modulate internal control states, such as the recent (local) and longer-term (global) occurrence of conflict. Local "control context" effects can be observed in trial-by-trial adjustments to conflict (congruency sequence effects: less interference following incongruent trials), whereas global control context effects are reflected in adjustments to the frequency of conflict encountered over longer sequences of trials ("proportion congruent effects": less interference when incongruent trials are frequent). Previous neuroimaging and lesion studies suggest that the modulation of conflict-control processes by local control context relies on partly dissociable neural circuits for cognitive (non-emotional) vs. emotional conflicts. By contrast, emotional and non-emotional conflict-control processes have not been contrasted with respect to their modulation by global control context. We addressed this aim in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study that varied the proportion of congruent trials in emotional vs. non-emotional conflict tasks across blocks. We observed domain-general conflict-related signals in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and pre-supplementary motor area and, more importantly, task-domain also interacted with global control context effects: specifically, the dorsal striatum and anterior insula tracked control-modulated conflict effects exclusively in the emotional domain. These results suggest that, similar to the neural mechanisms of local control context effects, there are both overlapping as well as distinct neural substrates involved in the modulation of emotional and non-emotional conflict-control by global control context.
Torres-Quesada, M; Korb, FM; Funes, MJ; Lupiáñez, J; Egner, T
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