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Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

Iris Lange, Liesbet Goossens, Stijn Michielse, Jindra Bakker, Shmuel Lissek, Silvia Papalini, Simone Verhagen, Nicole Leibold, Machteld Marcelis, Marieke Wichers, Ritsaert Lieverse, Jim van Os, Therese van Amelsvoort, Koen Schruers
Fear generalization is a prominent feature of anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder. It is defined as enhanced fear responding to a stimulus that bears similarities, but is not identical to a threatening stimulus. Pattern separation, a hippocampal-dependent process, is critical for stimulus discrimination; it transforms similar experiences or events into non-overlapping representations. The current study is the first in humans to investigate the extent to which fear generalization relies on behavioral pattern separation abilities...
September 26, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Luca F Ticini, Simone Schütz-Bosbach, Florian Waszak
To what extent is the mirror neuron mechanism malleable to experience? The answer to this question can help characterising its ontogeny and its role in social cognition. Some suggest that it develops through sensorimotor associations congruent with our own actions. Others argue for its extreme volatility that will encode any sensorimotor association in the environment. Here, we added to this debate by exploring the effects of short goal-directed "mirror" and "counter-mirror" trainings (a "mirror" training is defined as the first type of training encountered by the participants) on human auditory mirror motor-evoked potentials (MEPs)...
September 22, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Alexander Lischke, Sabine C Herpertz, Christoph Berger, Gregor Domes, Matthias Gamer
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) patients' hypersensitivity for emotionally relevant stimuli has been suggested be due to abnormal activity and connectivity in (para-)limbic and prefrontal brain regions during stimulus processing. The neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to modulate activity and functional connectivity in these brain regions, thereby optimizing the processing of emotional and neutral stimuli. To investigate whether oxytocin would be capable of attenuating BPD patients' hypersensitivity for such stimuli, we recorded brain activity and gaze behavior during the processing of complex scenes in 51 females with and 48 without BPD after intranasal application of either oxytocin or placebo...
September 19, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Laura Martin Braunstein, James J Gross, Kevin N Ochsner
The ability to adaptively regulate emotion is essential for mental and physical well-being. How should we organize the myriad ways people attempt to regulate their emotions? We explore the utility of a framework that distinguishes among four fundamental classes of emotion regulation strategies. The framework describes each strategy class in terms their behavioral characteristics, underlying psychological processes, and supporting neural systems. A key feature of this multi-level framework is its conceptualization of the psychological processes in terms of two orthogonal dimensions that describe (1) the nature of the emotion regulation goal (ranging from to implicit to explicit) and (2) the nature of the emotion change process (ranging from more automatic to more controlled)...
September 15, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Lara Bardi, Pieter Six, Marcel Brass
A recent debate about Theory of Mind (ToM) concerns whether spontaneous and explicit mentalizing are based on the same mechanisms. However, only a few neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural bases of spontaneous ToM, with inconsistent results. The present study had two goals: first, to investigate whether the right Temporo-Parietal Junction (rTPJ) is crucially involved in spontaneous ToM and second, to gain insight into the role of the rTPJ in ToM. For the first time, we applied rTMS to the rTPJ while participants were engaged in a spontaneous false belief task...
September 14, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Caroline A Figueroa, Roel J T Mocking, Guido van Wingen, Suzanne Martens, Henricus G Ruhé, Aart H Schene
Rumination and cognitive reactivity (dysfunctional cognitions after sad mood-induction) remain high in remitted Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and can contribute to new episodes. These factors have been linked to increased fMRI resting-state functional-connectivity within the Default-Mode Network (DMN). It remains unclear whether (I) increased DMN-connectivity persists during MDD-remission, and (II) whether sad mood-induction differentially affects DMN-connectivity in remitted-MDD versus controls. Moreover, DMN-connectivity studies in remitted-MDD were previously confounded by antidepressant-use...
September 13, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Giulia Galli, Miroslav Sirota, Maurizio Materassi, Francesca Zaninotto, Philip Terry
Pre-electoral surveys typically attempt, and sometimes fail, to predict voting behavior on the basis of explicit measures of agreement or disagreement with a candidate or political position. Here, we assessed whether a specific brain signature of disagreement with one's social values, the event-related potential component N400, could be predictive of voting behavior. We examined this possibility in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom. In the five weeks preceding the referendum, we recorded the N400 while participants with different vote intentions expressed their agreement or disagreement with pro- and against-EU statements...
September 11, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Tammi R A Kral, Enrique Solis, Jeanette A Mumford, Brianna S Schuyler, Lisa Flook, Katharine Rifken, Elena G Patsenko, Richard J Davidson
Empathy, the ability to understand others' emotions, can occur through perspective taking and experience sharing. Neural systems active when adults empathize include regions underlying perspective taking (e.g. medial prefrontal cortex; MPFC), and experience sharing (e.g. inferior parietal lobule; IPL). It is unknown whether adolescents utilize networks implicated in both experience sharing and perspective taking when accurately empathizing. This question is critical given the importance of accurately understanding others' emotions for developing and maintaining adaptive peer relationships during adolescence...
September 7, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
William D S Killgore, Ryan Smith, Elizabeth A Olson, Mareen Weber, Scott L Rauch, Lisa D Nickerson
Emotional intelligence (EI) is defined as an individual's capacity to accurately perceive, understand, reason about, and regulate emotions, and to apply that information to facilitate thought and achieve goals. Although EI plays an important role in mental health and success in academic, professional and social realms, the neurocircuitry underlying this capacity remains poorly characterized, and no study to date has yet examined the relationship between EI and intrinsic neural network function. Here, in a sample of 54 healthy individuals (28 women, 26 men), we apply independent components analysis (ICA) with dual regression to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data acquired while subjects were resting in the scanner to investigate brain circuits (intrinsic resting state networks) whose activity is associated with greater self-reported (i...
September 4, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
(no author information available yet)
The role of neuromodulators in the enforcement of cooperation is still not well understood. Here, we provide evidence that intranasal applied oxytocin, an important hormone for modulating social behavior, enhances the inclination to sanction free-riders in a social dilemma situation. Contrary to the notion of oxytocin being a pro-social hormone, we found that participants treated with oxytocin exhibited an amplification of self-reported negative social emotions such as anger towards free-riders, ultimately resulting in higher magnitude and frequency of punishment of free-riders compared to placebo...
August 29, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Jiaojian Wang, Qiang Wei, Tongjian Bai, Xiaoqin Zhou, Hui Sun, Benjamin Becker, Yanghua Tian, Kai Wang, Keith Kendrick
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been widely used to treat the major depressive disorder (MDD), especially for treatment resistant depression. However, the neuroanatomical basis of ECT remains an open problem. In our study, we combined the voxel-based morphology (VBM), resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC), and granger causality analysis (GCA) to identify the longitudinal changes of structure and function in 23 MDD patients before and after ECT. In addition, multivariate pattern analysis using linear support vector machine (SVM) was applied to classify 23 depressed patients from 25 gender, age, and education matched healthy controls...
August 28, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Christine Buff, Leonie Brinkmann, Maximilian Bruchmann, Michael P I Becker, Sara Tupak, Martin J Herrmann, Thomas Straube
Sustained anticipatory anxiety is central to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). During anticipatory anxiety, phasic threat responding appears to be mediated by the amygdala, while sustained threat responding seems related to the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). Although sustained anticipatory anxiety in GAD patients was proposed to be associated with BNST activity alterations, firm evidence is lacking. We aimed to explore temporal characteristics of BNST and amygdala activity during threat anticipation in GAD patients...
August 25, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Xinmu Hu, Zhenhua Xu, Xiaoqin Mai
Social value orientation (SVO) is a stable personality trait that reflects how people evaluate interdependent outcomes for themselves and others in social environments. Generally, people can be classified into two types: proselfs and prosocials. The present study examined how SVO affects the processing of outcome evaluation temporally using the event-related potential (ERP). Young adults with two different SVO types participated in a simple gambling task in which they received outcome distributions for themselves and others...
August 22, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Sarah A Stoycos, Larissa Del Piero, Gayla Margolin, Jonas T Kaplan, Darby E Saxbe
The current study used an emotional go/no-go task (Berkman et al., 2009) to explore inhibitory spillover (how intentional cognitive inhibition "spills over" to inhibit neural responses to affective stimuli) within 23 adolescents. Adolescents were shown emotional faces and asked to press a button depending on the gender of the face. When asked to inhibit with irrelevant affective stimuli present, adolescents recruited prefrontal cognitive control regions (rIFG, ACC) and ventral affective areas (insula, amygdala)...
August 17, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
S Hétu, Y Luo, K D'Ardenne, T Lohrenz, P R Montague
Social norms play an essential role in our societies, and since the social environment is changing constantly, our internal models of it also need to change. In humans, there is mounting evidence that neural structures such as the insula and the ventral striatum are involved in detecting norm violation and updating internal models. However, because of methodological challenges, little is known about the possible involvement of midbrain structures in detecting norm violation and updating internal models of our norms...
August 17, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Yan Mu, Shihui Han, Michele J Gelfand
Throughout history and into the modern era, human groups have been continually subjected to a wide range of societal threats, from natural disasters to pandemics to terrorism. Yet despite this fundamental aspect of human existence, there has been little research on how societal threat affects social coordination at both the neural and the behavioral level. Here, we show for the first time that individuals are better able to coordinate under high societal threat as compared to low or no threat (Experiment 1)...
July 27, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Daniel E Bradford, Courtney A Motschman, Mark J Starr, John J Curtin
Developing a better understanding of how and under what circumstances alcohol affects the emotions, cognitions and neural functions that precede and contribute to dangerous behaviors during intoxication may help to reduce their occurrence. Alcohol intoxication has recently been shown to reduce defensive reactivity and anxiety more during uncertain vs certain threat. However, alcohol's effects on emotionally motivated attention to these threats are unknown. Alcohol may disrupt both affective response to and attentional processing of uncertain threats making intoxicated individuals less able to avoid dangerous and costly behaviors...
July 27, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Ellen R A de Bruijn, Margit I Ruissen, Sina Radke
Altered performance monitoring has been demonstrated after administration of different pharmacological compounds and in various clinical populations, such as excessive neurophysiological responses to mistakes in anxiety disorders. Here, a novel social pharmacological approach was applied to investigate whether oxytocin administration (24 IU) enhances performance monitoring for errors that have negative consequences for another individual, so-called social mistakes. Healthy male volunteers (N = 24) participated in a placebo-controlled crossover design...
July 25, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Yangmei Luo, Senqing Qi, Xuhai Chen, Xuqun You, Xiting Huang, Zhen Yang
What is a good life and how it can be achieved is one of the fundamental issues. When considering a good life, there is a division between hedonic (pleasure attainment) and eudaimonic well-being (meaning pursuing and self-realization). However, an integrated approach that can compare the brain functional and structural differences of these two forms of well-being is lacking. Here, we investigated how the individual tendency to eudaimonic well-being relative to hedonic well-being, measured using eudaimonic and hedonic balance (EHB) index, is reflected in the functional and structural features of a key network of well-being-the default mode network (DMN)...
July 25, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Hyeran Jang, Kanghoon Jung, Jaehoon Jeong, Sang Ki Park, Jerald D Kralik, Jaeseung Jeong
The nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell lies anatomically at a critical intersection within the brain's reward system circuitry, however, its role in voluntary choice behavior remains unclear. Rats with electrolytic lesions in the NAc shell were tested in a novel foraging paradigm. Over a continuous two-week period they freely chose among four nutritionally identical but differently flavored food pellets by pressing corresponding levers. We examined the lesion's effects on three behavioral dynamics components: motivation (when to eat), preference bias (what to choose) and persistence (how long to repeat the same choice)...
September 1, 2017: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
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