Abstract

In recent decades, a substantial volume of work has examined the neural mechanisms of cognitive reappraisal. Distancing and reinterpretation are two frequently-used tactics through which reappraisal can be implemented. Theoretical frameworks and prior evidence have suggested that the specific tactic through which one employs reappraisal entails differential neural and psychological mechanisms. Thus, we were motivated to assess the neural mechanisms of this distinction by examining the overlap and differentiation exhibited by the neural correlates of distancing (specifically via objective appraisal) and reinterpretation. We analyzed 32 published fMRI studies in healthy adults using multilevel kernel density analysis. Results showed that distancing relative to reinterpretation uniquely recruited right DLPFC and left posterior parietal cortex, previously associated with mentalizing, selective attention, and working memory. Reinterpretation relative to distancing uniquely recruited left VLPFC, previously associated with response selection and inhibition. Further, distancing relative to reinterpretation was associated with greater prevalence of bilateral amygdala attenuation during reappraisal. Finally, a behavioral meta-analysis showed efficacy for both reappraisal tactics. These results are consistent with prior theoretical models for the functional neural architecture of reappraisal via distancing and reinterpretation and suggest potential future applications in region-of-interest specification and neural network analysis in studies focusing on specific reappraisal tactics.

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