Brain Imaging and Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 76–85 | Cite as

Neural correlates of emotion reappraisal in individuals with externalizing psychopathology

  • Allison J. Lake
  • Peter R. Finn
  • Thomas W. James
Original Research


Externalizing psychopathology (EXT) is characterized by regulatory deficits of behavior, cognition, and negative emotion. Previous research on EXT suggests that cognitive and affective dysregulation are highly related, such that strong affective states constrain a reduced-capacity cognitive system. Reappraisal is an effective emotional control strategy involving complex interactions between cognitive and affective brain functions and may therefore offer novel insight into the specific neural mechanisms of affective dysregulation among individuals with EXT. To evaluate these possibilities, we tested individuals with low or high EXT in a reappraisal paradigm. Neuroimaging results indicated that EXT was associated with hypo-activation in the amygdala and superior parietal lobule during both maintenance and reappraisal as well as poor modulation of the lateral occipital cortex during negative emotion reappraisal. These results suggest a general disruption of perceptual-attentional resource allocation such that high EXT individuals are characterized by poor modulation of perceptual-attentional resources during reappraisal. Subsequently, emotion reappraisal may be a useful but not adequate tool to control negative affect in EXT.


Emotion regulation Reappraisal Externalizing psychopathology 



The authors wish to thank Andrew Jahn for technical and computer programming support, Fernando Munoz for assistance with data analysis, and Ben Pruce and Colleen McCracken for assistance with data collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


This work was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Health and National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH/NIAAA RO1 AA13650) to P.R.F., a National Institute on Drug Abuse training grant fellowship (NIDA T32 DA024628) to A.J.L, and by the Indiana METACyt Initiative of Indiana University, which was funded in part through a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

11682_2015_9500_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (84 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 83 kb)
11682_2015_9500_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (83 kb)
ESM 2 (PDF 83 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison J. Lake
    • 1
  • Peter R. Finn
    • 1
  • Thomas W. James
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychological & Brain SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.Program in NeuroscienceIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  3. 3.Cognitive Science ProgramIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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