Emotional appraisal is influenced by cardiac afferent information

Gray, Marcus A., Beacher, Felix D., Minati, Ludovico, Nagai, Yoko, Kemp, Andrew H. and Harrison, Neil A. (2012) Emotional appraisal is influenced by cardiac afferent information. Emotion, 12 1: 180-191. doi:10.1037/a0025083

Author Gray, Marcus A.
Beacher, Felix D.
Minati, Ludovico
Nagai, Yoko
Kemp, Andrew H.
Harrison, Neil A.
Title Emotional appraisal is influenced by cardiac afferent information
Journal name Emotion   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1528-3542
Publication date 2012-02
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1037/a0025083
Volume 12
Issue 1
Start page 180
End page 191
Total pages 12
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Psychological Association
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Influential models highlight the central integration of bodily arousal with emotion. Some emotions, notably disgust, are more closely coupled to visceral state than others. Cardiac baroreceptors, activated at systole within each cardiac cycle, provide short-term visceral feedback. Here we explored how phasic baroreceptor activation may alter the appraisal of brief emotional stimuli and consequent cardiovascular reactions. We used functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain responses to emotional face stimuli presented before and during cardiac systole. We observed that the processing of emotional stimuli was altered by concurrent natural baroreceptor activation. Specifically, facial expressions of disgust were judged as more intense when presented at systole, and rebound heart rate increases were attenuated after expressions of disgust and happiness. Neural activity within prefrontal cortex correlated with emotionality ratings. Activity within periaqueductal gray matter reflected both emotional ratings and their interaction with cardiac timing. Activity within regions including prefrontal and visual cortices correlated with increases in heart rate evoked by the face stimuli, while orbitofrontal activity reflected both evoked heart rate change and its interaction with cardiac timing. Our findings demonstrate that momentary physiological fluctuations in cardiovascular afferent information (1) influence specific emotional judgments, mediated through regions including the periaqueductal gray matter, and (2) shape evoked autonomic responses through engagement of orbitofrontal cortex. Together these findings highlight the close coupling of visceral and emotional processes and identify neural regions mediating bodily state influences on affective judgment.
Keyword Cardiac baroreceptors
Visceral feedback
Phasic baroreceptor activation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
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Created: Tue, 23 Oct 2012, 15:42:12 EST by Sandrine Ducrot on behalf of Centre for Advanced Imaging