Cognitive control modulates preferential sensory processing of affective stimuli

Steinhauser, Marco, Flaisch, Tobias, Meinzer, Marcus and Schupp, Harald (2016) Cognitive control modulates preferential sensory processing of affective stimuli. Neuropsychologia, 91 435-443. doi:10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.09.009


Author Steinhauser, Marco
Flaisch, Tobias
Meinzer, Marcus
Schupp, Harald
Title Cognitive control modulates preferential sensory processing of affective stimuli
Journal name Neuropsychologia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0028-3932
1873-3514
Publication date 2016-10-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2016.09.009
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 91
Start page 435
End page 443
Total pages 9
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Abstract Adaptive human behavior crucially relies on the ability of the brain to allocate resources automatically to emotionally significant stimuli. This ability has consistently been demonstrated by studies showing preferential processing of affective stimuli in sensory cortical areas. It is still unclear, however, whether this putatively automatic mechanism can be modulated by cognitive control processes. Here, we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate whether preferential processing of an affective face distractor is suppressed when an affective distractor has previously elicited a response conflict in a word-face Stroop task. We analyzed this for three consecutive stages in the ventral stream of visual processing for which preferential processing of affective stimuli has previously been demonstrated: the striate area (BA 17), category-unspecific extrastriate areas (BA 18/19), and the fusiform face area (FFA). We found that response conflict led to a selective suppression of affective face processing in category-unspecific extrastriate areas and the FFA, and this effect was accompanied by changes in functional connectivity between these areas and the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. In contrast, preferential processing of affective face distractors was unaffected in the striate area. Our results indicate that cognitive control processes adaptively suppress preferential processing of affective stimuli under conditions where affective processing is detrimental because it elicits response conflict.
Keyword Emotion
Cognitive control
Face processing
Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Visual cortex
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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Created: Thu, 22 Sep 2016, 17:50:29 EST by Marcus Meinzer on behalf of School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences