Influence of Repressive Coping Style on Cortical Activation during Encoding of Angry Faces
Background: Coping plays an important role for emotion regulation in threatening situations. The model of coping modes designates repression and sensitization as two independent coping styles. Repression consists of strategies that shield the individual from arousal. Sensitization indicates increase...
|Division/Institute:||FB 05: Medizinische Fakultät
FB 07: Psychologie und Sportwissenschaft
|Date of publication on miami:||11.06.2015|
|Edition statement:||[Electronic ed.]|
|Source:||PLoS ONE 9 (2015) 12, e112398, 1-21|
|DDC Subject:||150: Psychologie|
|License:||CC BY 4.0|
|Notes:||Finanziert durch den Open-Access-Publikationsfonds 2014/2015 der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) und der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster (WWU Münster).|
|Other Identifiers:||DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112398|
Background: Coping plays an important role for emotion regulation in threatening situations. The model of coping modes designates repression and sensitization as two independent coping styles. Repression consists of strategies that shield the individual from arousal. Sensitization indicates increased analysis of the environment in order to reduce uncertainty. According to the discontinuity hypothesis, repressors are sensitive to threat in the early stages of information processing. While repressors do not exhibit memory disturbances early on, they manifest weak memory for these stimuli later. This study investigates the discontinuity hypothesis using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: Healthy volunteers (20 repressors and 20 sensitizers) were selected from a sample of 150 students on the basis of the Mainz Coping Inventory. During the fMRI experiment, subjects evaluated and memorized emotional and neutral faces. Subjects performed two sessions of face recognition: immediately after the fMRI session and three days later. Results: Repressors exhibited greater activation of frontal, parietal and temporal areas during encoding of angry faces compared to sensitizers. There were no differences in recognition of facial emotions between groups neither immediately after exposure nor after three days. Conclusions: The fMRI findings suggest that repressors manifest an enhanced neural processing of directly threatening facial expression which confirms the assumption of hyper-responsivity to threatening information in repression in an early processing stage. A discrepancy was observed between high neural activation in encoding-relevant brain areas in response to angry faces in repressors and no advantage in subsequent memory for these faces compared to sensitizers.