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Poster A49

Functional organization of lateral prefrontal cortex during time-emotion integration

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Mengsi Li1 (, Jingyi Wang1, Runan Wang1, Regina C Lapate1; 1University of California, Santa Barbara

The capacity to respond to dynamic emotional events in a time-and-context-sensitive manner is paramount to emotional wellbeing. Extant research underscores a critical role for the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) in the temporally organized control of behavior, but mechanistic studies of LPFC function in emotion are lacking. Here, we examined LPFC’s functional organization during the representation of time-emotion integrated control signals. Participants viewed negative and positive images over a 12-s period, which yielded predominantly positive vs. negative emotional sequences with varying amounts of temporal evidence (Δtime: 1200ms vs. 1800ms). Participants were asked to indicate the predominant emotional valence after each sequence. A contextual cue indicated the mapping between valence and action goal (left vs. right) and signaled an action preparation epoch, followed by action execution. Greater temporal evidence benefitted time-emotion integration performance. During action preparation, emotional valence and temporal evidence were decodable from anterior LPFC (frontal pole, FP), whereas contextual-action goal was decodable from mid-LPFC. Critically, temporally-integrated emotional signals in FP informed mid-LPFC action-goal representations: greater emotional-valence decoding in FP during emotional-sequence processing predicted greater contextual-action goal decoding in mid-LPFC during action preparation. Moreover, LPFC representations tracked behavior in a time-and-valence-dependent manner: during emotional-sequence processing, higher emotional-valence decoding predicted better temporal integration for negative-longer (vs. positive-longer) sequences, whereas temporal-evidence decoding predicted better performance for stronger (vs. weaker) temporal-evidence trials. Collectively, these findings provide novel insights into the role of LPFC in representing temporally-organized control signals during dynamic emotional experiences, and suggest a rostro-caudal axis of time-emotional integration for context-sensitive action.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions


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April 13–16  |  2024