Unpacking the neural associations of emotion and judgment in emotion-congruent judgment

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The current study takes a new approach to understand the neural systems that support emotion-congruent judgment. The bulk of previous neural research has inferred emotional influences on judgment from disadvantageous judgments or non-random individual differences. The current study manipulated the influence of emotional information on judgments of stimuli that were equivocally composed of positive and negative attributes. Emotion-congruent processing was operationalized in two ways: neural activation significantly associated with primes that lead to emotionally congruent judgments and neural activation significantly associated with judgments that were preceded by emotionally congruent primes. Distinct regions of medial orbitofrontal cortex were associated with these patterns of emotion-congruent processing. Judgments that were incongruent with preceding primes were associated with dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and lateral orbitofrontal cortex activity. The current study demonstrates a new approach to investigate the neural systems associated with emotion-congruent judgment. The findings suggest that medial OFC may support attentional processes that underlie emotion-congruent judgment.

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