The ability to cognitively regulate emotional responses to aversive events is important for mental and physical health. Little is known, however, about neural bases of the cognitive control of emotion. The present study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the neural systems used to reappraise highly negative scenes in unemotional terms. Reappraisal of highly negative scenes reduced subjective experience of negative affect. Neural correlates of reappraisal were increased activation of the lateral and medial prefrontal regions and decreased activation of the amygdala and medial orbito-frontal cortex. These findings support the hypothesis that prefrontal cortex is involved in constructing reappraisal strategies that can modulate activity in multiple emotion-processing systems.

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