Influencing control over social-emotional action using tACs-fMRI
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PI Group Affective Neuroscience
SW OZ DCC CO
PI Group Intention & Action
SW OZ BSI KLP
Key wordstheta-gamma coupling; emotional-action control; tACS-fMRI
Control over emotional action tendencies is essential for every-day interactions. This cognitive function fails occasionally during socially challenging situations, and systematically in social psychopathologies. We delivered dual-site phase-coupled brain stimulation to facilitate theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling between frontal regions known to implement that form of control, while human male participants were challenged to control their automatic action tendencies in a social–emotional approach/avoidance-task. Participants had increased control over their emotional action tendencies, depending on the relative phase and dose of the intervention. Concurrently measured fMRI effects of task and stimulation indicated that the intervention improved control by increasing the efficacy of anterior prefrontal inhibition over sensorimotor cortex. This enhancement of emotional action control provides causal evidence for a phase-amplitude coupling mechanism guiding action selection during emotional-action control. More generally, the finding illustrates the potential of physiologically-grounded interventions aimed at reducing neural noise in cerebral circuits where communication relies on phase-amplitude coupling.