abstract Hadas Okon-Singer

Hadas Okon-Singer (University of Haifa, Israel)

Factors modulating emotional reactions: attention, personality and neural architecture

Recent evidence supports the view that the processing of aversive stimuli depends on several modulating factors. Our findings demonstrate that attention mechanisms and anxiety-related personality traits and tendencies modulate behavioral, neural and autonomic (heart rate and blood pressure) reactions to highly-negative material. Additionally, individual differences in neural organization play a role in the ability to control emotional reactions. This evidence suggests that individual characteristics shape the connectivity within a neural network that is involved in the reactions to emotional stimuli; activation in this neural network is further modulated by attention. In this talk, I will present recent fMRI evidence for intra- and inter-individual differences in reactions to emotional information, as well as evidence for abnormal blood pressure reactions to emotional information among a specific population at risk. Taken together, these findings suggest that modifying attentional control mechanisms may have possible clinical implications for individuals that show enhanced autonomic reactivity to emotional stimuli.