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Does psychosocial stress impact cognitive reappraisal? Behavioral and neural evidence

Shermohammed, M; Mehta, PH; Zhang, J; Brandes, CM; Chang, LJ; Somerville, LH; (2017) Does psychosocial stress impact cognitive reappraisal? Behavioral and neural evidence. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience , 29 (11) pp. 1803-1816. 10.1162/jocn_a_01157. Green open access

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Abstract

Cognitive reappraisal (CR) is regarded as an effective emotion regulation strategy. Acute stress, however, is believed to impair the functioning of prefrontal-based neural systems, which could result in lessened effectiveness of CR under stress. This study tested the behavioral and neurobiological impact of acute stress on CR. While undergoing fMRI, adult participants (n = 54) passively viewed or used CR to regulate their response to negative and neutral pictures and provided ratings of their negative affect in response to each picture. Half of the participants experienced an fMRI-adapted acute psychosocial stress manipulation similar to the Trier Social Stress Test, and a contr ol group received parallel manipulations without the stressful components. Relative to the control group, the stress group exhibited heightened stress as indexed by self-report, heart rate, and salivary cortisol throughout the scan. Contrary to our hypothesis, we found that reappraisal success was equivalent in the control and stress groups, as was electrodermal response to the pictures. Heart rate deceleration, a physiological response typically evoked by aversive pictures, was blunted in response to negative pictures and heightened in response to neutral pictures in the stress group. In the brain, we found weak evidence of stress-induced increases of reappraisalrelated activity in parts of the PFC and left amygdala, but these relationships were statistically fragile. Together, these findings suggest that both the self-reported and neural effects of CR may be robust to at least moderate levels of stress, informing theoretical models of stress effects on cognition and emotion.

Type: Article
Title: Does psychosocial stress impact cognitive reappraisal? Behavioral and neural evidence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_01157
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1162/jocn_a_01157
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040148
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