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Description: It is an open question in cognitive emotion regulation research how emotion regulation unfolds over time, and whether the brain regions involved in down-regulation are also recruited during up-regulation of emotions. As a replication and extension of our preceding study, we conducted an fMRI study in young healthy adults on the neural basis of up- and down-regulation of negative and neutral pictures during the immediate stimulation phase as well as after short- and long-term delays (N = 47 for immediate and short-term delays, a subset of N = 30 for long-term delays). For this, we employed three experimental conditions – down-regulation (distance), maintenance (permit), and up-regulation (intensify) – for negative and neutral pictures, and investigated the neural responses during the stimulation and post- stimulation phase as well as during re-exposure after 10 min and after 1 week. We observed the following main results: first, we found greater activation in emotion-generating regions such as the amygdala in the permit vs. distance and the intensify vs. distance comparisons, but not in the intensify vs. permit comparison. Second, we observed greater activation in emotion-regulating regions such as the right inferior parietal and right superior / middle frontal cortex in the distance vs. permit and the distance vs. intensify contrasts, but not the permit vs. intensify contrast. Third, we found that the activation difference between distance and intensify within the amygdala reversed after the regulation period. Fourth, previous emotion regulation did not influence the activation during re-exposure, neither after 10 minutes nor after 1 week. Taken together, the results provide a partial replication of persistent effects observed in our preceding study, indicate different neural systems for up- and down-regulation, and demonstrate that a broader perspective on emotion regulation can be achieved by simultaneously considering different goals, directions, and strategies of emotion regulation in a single experiment.

License: CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International


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