Neural control of affective spillover
Colloquium | November 6 | 12:10-1:15 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West
Regina Lapate, Postdoctoral Fellow, Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute
A hallmark of human social experience is the frequent exposure to continuously varying emotional events. Optimal functioning in everyday life therefore requires the ability to efficiently override reflexive emotional responses and prevent the spillover of affect to people or situations unrelated to the source of emotion. How does our brain maintain context-sensitive emotional responses? In this talk, I will discuss data from behavioral, neuroimaging, and non-invasive brain stimulation studies pointing to a regulatory role of conscious awareness during affective processing, which is subserved in part by function of the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC). Causal manipulations of LPFC suggest that function of this region determines the magnitude of influence of affective processing on subsequent behavioral (evaluative and motor) responses. I will conclude by discussing ongoing work examining the representational code and organizational principles of prefrontal function that support adaptive emotional responding.