Uncinate fasciculus fractional anisotropy correlates with typical use of reappraisal in women but not men
Emotion regulation refers to strategies through which individuals influence their experience and expression of emotions. Two typical strategies are reappraisal, a cognitive strategy for reframing the context of an emotional experience, and suppression, a behavioral strategy for inhibiting emotional responses. Functional neuroimaging studies have revealed that regions of the prefrontal cortex modulate amygdala reactivity during both strategies, but relatively greater downregulation of the amygdala occurs during reappraisal. Moreover, these studies demonstrated that engagement of this modulatory circuitry varies as a function of gender. The uncinate fasciculus is a major structural pathway connecting regions of the anterior temporal lobe, including the amygdala to inferior frontal regions, especially the orbitofrontal cortex. The objective of the current study was to map variability in the structural integrity of the uncinate fasciculus onto individual differences in self-reported typical use of reappraisal and suppression. Diffusion tensor imaging was used in 194 young adults to derive regional fractional anisotropy values for the right and left uncinate fasciculus. All participants also completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire. In women but not men, self-reported typical reappraisal use was positively correlated with fractional anisotropy values in a region of the left uncinate fasciculus within the orbitofrontal cortex. In contrast, typical use of suppression was not significantly correlated with fractional anisotropy in any region of the uncinate fasciculus in either men or women. Our data suggest that in women typical reappraisal use is specifically related to the integrity of white matter pathways linking the amygdala and prefrontal cortex. © 2013 American Psychological Association.
Zuurbier, LA; Nikolova, YS; Ahs, F; Hariri, AR
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