Reappraising the voices of wrath

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Cognitive reappraisal recruits prefrontal and parietal cortical areas. Because of the near exclusive usage in past research of visual stimuli to elicit emotions, it is unknown whether the same neural substrates underlie the reappraisal of emotions induced through other sensory modalities. Here, participants reappraised their emotions in order to increase or decrease their emotional response to angry prosody, or maintained their attention to it in a control condition. Neural activity was monitored with fMRI, and connectivity was investigated by using psychophysiological interaction analyses. A right-sided network encompassing the superior temporal gyrus, the superior temporal sulcus and the inferior frontal gyrus was found to underlie the processing of angry prosody. During reappraisal to increase emotional response, the left superior frontal gyrus showed increased activity and became functionally coupled to right auditory cortices. During reappraisal to decrease emotional response, a network that included the medial frontal gyrus and posterior parietal areas showed increased activation and greater functional connectivity with bilateral auditory regions. Activations pertaining to this network were more extended on the right side of the brain. Although directionality cannot be inferred from PPI analyses, the findings suggest a similar frontoparietal network for the reappraisal of visually and auditorily induced negative emotions.

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