Friday October 20, 2017

This is how Brain Processes Emotional Spillover

Researchers in the US have for the first time pinpointed areas directly responsible for emotional spillover

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Little girl crying due to negative emotional spillover. Pixabay
  • When we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations — sometimes for the worse
  • When the lateral prefrontal area of the brain (a region known for executive function) was inhibited by the stimulation, participants showed more emotional spillover

New York, June 18, 2017: As part of efforts to understand the emotional side of the brain, researchers in the US have for the first time pinpointed areas directly responsible for emotional spillover.

When we let emotions from one event carry on to the next, such spillover can color our impressions and behavior in those new situations — sometimes for the worse.

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Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a technique that can temporarily “knock out” or inhibit activity in specific parts of the brain, the team discovered that when the lateral prefrontal area of the brain (a region known for executive function) was inhibited by the stimulation, participants showed more emotional spillover.

For the experiment, the team from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison collected people’s ratings and first impressions of neutral faces they saw immediately after faces that were smiling, prompting positive emotions, or fearful, prompting negative emotions.

“It was interesting because participants saw the emotional faces very briefly and when asked afterward, they didn’t think that they had been influenced by it in their ratings,” said Regina Lapate who led the work.

“Emotional spillover can happen without us being aware of it,” Lapate added in the study published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

“If your first impression of someone is formed when you’re experiencing emotional spillover from a previous context, that negative impression may stick,” Lapate said.

Next on Lapate’s agenda is to test whether the reverse works, i.e. can TMS stimulation that increases neural firing in the prefrontal cortex lead to a decrease in negative emotional spillover. (IANS)

Next Story

High-Frequency Magnetic Pulses May Treat “Hearing of Voices” Condition of Schizophrenia Patients: Study

People with schizophrenia experience delusions, muddled thoughts, and hallucinations

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"Hearing of voices" condition experienced by schizophrenia patients. Pixabay

London, Sep 06, 2017: Researchers have found that high-frequency magnetic pulses can improve “hearing of voices” condition experienced by many patients with schizophrenia.

The research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) conference in Paris identified the area of the brain involved in the condition in some patients.

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“This is the first controlled trial to precisely determine an anatomically defined brain area where high frequency magnetic pulses can improve the hearing of voices,” said lead researcher Sonia Dollfus, Professor at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Caen in France.

Schizophrenia is a serious long-term mental health problem. People with schizophrenia experience a range of symptoms, which may include delusions, muddled thoughts and hallucinations.

One of the best-known is hearing voices, also known as Auditory Verbal Hallucination (AVH), which around 70 per cent of people with schizophrenia experience at some point.

These voices, may be ‘heard’ as having a variety of different characteristics, for example as internal or external, friendly or threatening, they may be continuously present or present only occasionally, and so on.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which uses magnetic pulses to the brain, has been suggested as a possible way of treating the hearing of voices in schizophrenia.

However, there is a lack of controlled trials to show that TMS works effectively in treating “hearing of voices”.

The French research team worked with a small group of patients who received active TMS treatment. A control group received sham (placebo) treatment.

The researchers interviewed the patients using a standard protocol — the Auditory Hallucinations Rating Scale — which revealed most of the characteristic features of the voices which they were hearing.

The treated patients received a series of 20 Hz high-frequency magnetic pulses over two sessions a day for two days.

Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the pulses were targetted at a specific brain area in the temporal lobe, which is associated with language.

After two weeks, the patients were re-evaluated. The researchers found that 34.6 per cent of the patients being treated by TMS showed a significant response, whereas only 9.1 per cent of patients in the sham group responded. (IANS)