Amygdalar function reflects common individual differences in emotion and pain regulation success
Lapate, R. C., Lee, H., Salomons, T. V., van Reekum, C. M., Greischar, L. L. and Davidson, R. J. (2012) Amygdalar function reflects common individual differences in emotion and pain regulation success. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 24 (1). pp. 148-158. ISSN 1530-8898
To link to this article DOI: 10.1162/jocn_a_00125
Although the co-occurrence of negative affect and pain is well recognized, the mechanism underlying their association is unclear. To examine whether a common self-regulatory ability impacts the experience of both emotion and pain, we integrated neuroimaging, behavioral, and physiological measures obtained from three assessments separated by substantial temporal intervals. Out results demonstrated that individual differences in emotion regulation ability, as indexed by an objective measure of emotional state, corrugator electromyography, predicted self-reported success while regulating pain. In both emotion and pain paradigms, the amygdala reflected regulatory success. Notably, we found that greater emotion regulation success was associated with greater change of amygdalar activity following pain regulation. Furthermore, individual differences in degree of amygdalar change following emotion regulation were a strong predictor of pain regulation success, as well as of the degree of amygdalar engagement following pain regulation. These findings suggest that common individual differences in emotion and pain regulatory success are reflected in a neural structure known to contribute to appraisal processes.