Detaching from the negative by reappraisal: The role of right superior frontal gyrus (BA9/32)

Rosalux Falquez, Blas Couto, Agustin Ibanez, Martin T. Freitag, Moritz Berger, Elisabeth A. Arens, Simone Lang, Sven Barnow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The ability to reappraise the emotional impact of events is related to long-term mental health. Self-focused reappraisal (REAPPself), i.e., reducing the personal relevance of the negative events, has been previously associated with neural activity in regions near right medial prefrontal cortex, but rarely investigated among brain-damaged individuals. Thus, we aimed to examine the REAPPself ability of brain-damaged patients and healthy controls considering structural atrophies and gray matter intensities, respectively. Twenty patients with well-defined cortex lesions due to an acquired circumscribed tumor or cyst and 23 healthy controls performed a REAPPself task, in which they had to either observe negative stimuli or decrease emotional responding by REAPPself. Next, they rated the impact of negative arousal and valence. REAPPself ability scores were calculated by subtracting the negative picture ratings after applying REAPPself from the ratings of the observing condition. The scores of the patients were included in a voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping (VLSM) analysis to identify deficit related areas (ROI). Then, a ROI group-wise comparison was performed. Additionally, a whole-brain voxel-based-morphometry (VBM) analysis was run, in which healthy participant's REAPPself ability scores were correlated with gray matter intensities. Results showed that (1) regions in the right superior frontal gyrus (SFG), comprising the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (BA9) and the right dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (BA32), were associated with patient's impaired down-regulation of arousal, (2) a lesion in the depicted ROI occasioned significant REAPPself impairments, (3) REAPPself ability of controls was linked with increased gray matter intensities in the ROI regions. Our findings show for the first time that the neural integrity and the structural volume of right SFG regions (BA9/32) might be indispensable for REAPPself. Implications for neurofeedback research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number165
JournalFrontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
StatePublished - 9 May 2014


  • Emotion regulation
  • Right SFG
  • Self-focused reappraisal
  • VBM
  • VLSM


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