Mindfulness Disposition and Neural Correlates of Emotional Perception
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of Psychology Honors Theses; 2012
Mindfulness disposition, defined as the ability to focus on present moment experiences, has been associated with enhanced attentional and emotional control. In this study, we examined if higher levels of mindfulness disposition in older adults were associated with the cortico-subcortico circuitry involved in emotional processing. Forty-four participants (25 older adults, 19 younger adults) performed an emotional perception task inside the scanner, and filled out questionnaires related to overall health and mindfulness disposition. Consistent with previous research, we found older adults to show increased recruitment of the prefrontal cortices, specifically the medial prefrontal cortices (mPFC) while processing negative, relative to neutral information. Mindfulness disposition was found to be associated with the neural regions supporting emotional perception. Higher levels of mindfulness disposition in older adults were associated with diminished reactivity of the orbitofrontal cortex and amygdala during the affect block, thus suggesting one pathway through which mindfulness training may enhance emotional regulation. Overall, our results indicate that mindfulness disposition may optimize the neural circuitry associated with emotion perception in older adults.