Resting state cortico-limbic functional connectivity and dispositional use of emotion regulation strategies: A replication and extension study
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Description: Neuroimaging functional connectivity analyses have shown that the negative coupling between amygdala and cortical regions is linked to better emotion regulation (ER) in experimental task settings. However, less is known about the neural correlates of ER traits or dispositions. The present study aimed to (1) replicate the findings of differential cortico-limbic coupling during resting state depending on the dispositional use of ER strategies. Furthermore, the study aimed to (2) extend prior findings by examining whether differences in cortico-limbic coupling during resting state predict behavioral and neuronal emotion regulation success in a standard emotion regulation task. To this end, N=107 healthy adults completed the Emotion Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), underwent an 8-min resting-state fMRI acquisition and completed a reappraisal task during fMRI. Functional connectivity maps of basolateral and centromedial amygdala nuclei were estimated with a seed-based approach regarding associations with regions of the prefrontal cortex, and were then correlated with ERQ scores as well as behavioral and neuronal ER success. All hypotheses and the analysis plan are preregistered at https://osf.io/8wsgu. Opposed to prior findings, we were not able to replicate a correlation of habitual ER strategy use with functional connectivity between amygdala and PFC regions. Furthermore, there was no association of behavioral and neuronal reappraisal success with functional connectivity between amygdala and insula as well as PFC. The present preregistered study calls into question the reported association between individual differences in resting state cortico-limbic connectivity and habitual use of ER strategies. However, ongoing advances in functional brain imaging and distributed network approaches may leverage the identification of reliable functional connectivity patterns that underlie successful emotion regulation.