Patients with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex lesions are capable of discriminatory threat learning but appear impaired in cognitive regulation of subjective fear

NYU PROSPEC Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Humans are able to cognitively regulate emotions by changing their thoughts. Neuroimaging studies show correlations between dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) activity and cognitive regulation of emotions. Here our objective was to investigate whether dlPFC damage is associated with impaired cognitive regulation of emotion. We therefore tested the ability of patients with dlPFC lesions (N = 6) and matched control participants (N = 19) to utilize a laboratory version of cognitive regulation training (CRT) to regulate subjective fear and autonomic threat responses following Pavlovian threat conditioning. We found that patients with dlPFC lesions were able to acquire conditioned threat but seemed impaired in their ability to utilize CRT to cognitively regulate subjective fear to a threatening stimulus. Despite inclusion of a limited number of lesion patients, our results suggest that the dlPFC is important for the cognitive regulation of subjective fear.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-612
Number of pages12
JournalSocial cognitive and affective neuroscience
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2019

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Lesions
  • Patients
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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