Improving emotional-action control with tACS

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Improving emotional-action control by targeting long-range phase-amplitude neuronal coupling.

Abstract
Control over emotional action tendencies is essential for everyday interactions. This cognitive function fails occasionally during socially challenging situations, and systematically in social psychopathologies. We delivered dual-site phase-coupled brain stimulation to facilitate theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling between frontal regions known to implement that form of control, while neuropsychologically healthy human male participants were challenged to control their automatic action tendencies in a social-emotional approach/avoidance-task. Participants had increased control over their emotional action tendencies, depending on the relative phase and dose of the intervention. Concurrently measured fMRI effects of task and stimulation indicated that the intervention improved control by increasing the efficacy of anterior prefrontal inhibition over the sensorimotor cortex. This enhancement of emotional action control provides causal evidence for phase-amplitude coupling mechanisms guiding action selection during emotional-action control. Generally, the finding illustrates the potential of physiologically-grounded interventions aimed at reducing neural noise in cerebral circuits where communication relies on phase-amplitude coupling.

PMID: 33106222 [PubMed – in process]

Elife. 2020 Oct 27;9:

Authors: Bramson B, den Ouden HE, Toni I, Roelofs K

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