Role of the inferior frontal cortex in coping with distracting emotions

Florin Dolcos, Philip Kragel, Lihong Wang, Gregory McCarthy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The role of inferior frontal cortex in coping with emotional distracters presented concurrently with a working memory task was investigated using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. The study yielded two main findings: (i) processing of emotional distracters was associated with enhanced functional coupling between the amygdala and the inferior frontal cortex and (ii) the inferior frontal cortex showed a left-lateralized activation pattern discriminating successful from unsuccessful trials in the presence of emotional distraction. These findings provide evidence that coping with emotional distraction entails interactions between brain regions responsible for detection and inhibition of emotional distraction, and identified a hemispheric specialization in the inferior frontal cortex in controlling the impact of distracting emotions on cognitive performance (left hemisphere) vs. controlling the subjective feeling of being distracted (right hemisphere).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1591-1594
Number of pages4
Issue number15
StatePublished - Oct 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Affect
  • Affective disorders
  • Arousal
  • Cognitive control
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional interference
  • Emotional-cognitive interaction
  • Learning and memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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