Electrified emotions: Modulatory effects of transcranial direct stimulation on negative emotional reactions to social exclusion.

TitleElectrified emotions: Modulatory effects of transcranial direct stimulation on negative emotional reactions to social exclusion.
Publication TypeJournal Article
JournalSocial neuroscience
Volume10
Issue1
Pagination46-54
Date Published2015
ISSN1747-0919
Abstract

Social exclusion, ostracism, and rejection can be emotionally painful because they thwart the need to belong. Building on studies suggesting that the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (rVLPFC) is associated with regulation of negative emotions, the present experiment tests the hypothesis that decreasing the cortical excitability of the rVLPFC may increase negative emotional reactions to social exclusion. Specifically, we applied cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the rVLPFC and predicted an increment of negative emotional reactions to social exclusion. In Study 1, participants were either socially excluded or included, while cathodal tDCS or sham stimulation was applied over the rVLPFC. Cathodal stimulation of rVLPFC boosted the typical negative emotional reaction caused by social exclusion. No effects emerged from participants in the inclusion condition. To test the specificity of tDCS effects over rVLPFC, in Study 2, participants were socially excluded and received cathodal tDCS or sham stimulation over a control region (i.e., the right posterior parietal cortex). No effects of tDCS stimulation were found. Our results showed that the rVLPFC is specifically involved in emotion regulation and suggest that cathodal stimulation can increase negative emotional responses to social exclusion.

DOI10.1080/17470919.2014.946621
Short TitleSoc Neurosci
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