Neural activation during selective attention to subjective emotional responses

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WE examined neural activity associated with selectively attending to subjective emotional responses in a study where subjects viewed emotional picture sets. During picture viewing when subjects attended to their subjective emotional responses, highly significant increased neural activity was elicited in rostral anterior cingulate (BA 32) (Z = 6.87, p < 0.001, corrected). By contrast, under the same stimulus conditions when subjects attended to spatial aspects of identical picture sets activation was observed in the parieto-occipital cortex bilaterally (Z = 5.71, p < 0.001, corrected). The findings indicated a specific role for the anterior cingulate cortex in representing subjective emotional responses and are consistent with a suggested role for associated medial prefrontal structures in representing states of mind.

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