Lateral frontal pole tracks emotion metacognitive assessments during anticipatory threat
Joanne Stasiak1 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Christina Villanueva1, Parker Barandon1, Jingyi Wang1, Neil Dundon1, Elizabeth Rizor1, Scott Grafton1, Regina Lapate1; 1University of California, Santa Barbara
Metacognitive assessments of emotion, which are thought to promote context-adaptive action under duress, require integrating across experiential and bodily emotion channels. However, whether and how threat impacts the integration of physiological and experiential systems for emotion metacognition is unknown. Moreover, it remains unclear whether prefrontal regions previously implicated in perceptual metacognition–such as the lateral frontal pole (FPl)– support emotion metacognition. Here, we assessed sympathetic nervous system responding and self-reported emotion to examine how threat modulates emotion metacognition. In the MRI scanner, participants (n=50, 39F) underwent a threat-of-shock paradigm that orthogonally manipulated shock intensity and controllability. Anticipatory threat was induced via a prolonged countdown to shock administration, after which participants provided emotional-intensity and confidence ratings. Cardiac contractility data were collected continuously, providing a high-resolution index of sympathetic drive. To estimate trial-wise coherence between sympathetic and experiential emotion systems, we computed the concordance between intensity ratings and sympathetic drive. We found that sympathetic drive was positively associated with subjective ratings of emotional intensity (β=0.19, t=4.13, p<0.001). Moreover, participants’ confidence in their subjective experience was lowest when system coherence was lowest (F=213.9, p<0.001). Neural activation during threat anticipation was parametrically modulated by participants’ confidence reports, such that higher confidence predicted greater FPl activation during the anticipation of unpleasant (vs. mild) threat (t=2.73, p=0.006). Together, these results suggest that coherence between sympathetic and experiential emotion systems shape metacognitive judgments of emotion, and that FPl function supports emotion metacognition.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions
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April 13–16 | 2024