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After a fight with a partner, brain activity predicts emotional resiliency
Date:3/9/2010

r three weeks, the couples also recorded in an online diary their daily emotional state and whether they had had a fight with their partners.

Hooker found that participants who displayed greater activity in their lateral prefrontal cortex while viewing their partners' negative facial expressions in the scanner were less likely to report a negative mood the day after a fight with their partners, indicating that they were better able to emotionally "bounce back" after the conflict.

She also found that those who had more activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex and greater emotional regulation after a fight displayed more cognitive control in laboratory tests, indicating a link between emotion regulation and broader cognitive control skills.

"The key factor is that the brain activity in the scanner predicted their experience in life," says Hooker. "Scientists believe that what we are looking at in the scanner has relevance to daily life, but obviously we don't live our lives in a scanner. If we can connect what we see in the scanner to somebody's day-to-day emotion-regulation capacity, it could help psychologists predict how well people will respond to stressful events in their lives."

While Hooker acknowledges that more work must be done to develop clinical applications for the research, it may be that lateral prefrontal cortex function provides information about a person's vulnerability to develop mood problems after a stressful event. This raises the question as to whether increasing lateral prefrontal cortex function will improve emotion regulation capacity.


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Contact: Amy Lavoie
amy_lavoie@harvard.edu
617-496-9982
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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