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Published Online: 15 January 2017

Greater Attention to Task-Relevant Threat Due to Orbitofrontal Lesion

Publication: Journal of Neurotrauma
Volume 34, Issue Number 2

Abstract

Injury to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is a frequent consequence of head injury and may lead to dysfunctional regulation of emotional and social behavior. Dysfunctional emotional behavior may partly be related to the role of the OFC in emotion-attention interaction, as reported previously. In order to better understand its role in emotion-attention and emotion-cognitive control interactions, we investigated attention allocation to task-relevant and task-irrelevant threat-related emotional stimuli during a task requiring cognitive control in patients with lesion to the OFC. We measured the behavioral performance and event-related potentials (ERP) of 13 patients with OFC lesion and 11 control subjects during a Go/NoGo visual discrimination task. In the task, line drawings of threatening (spider) and neutral (flower) figures served as either task-relevant Go or NoGo signals, or as task-irrelevant distractors. Overall performance did not differ between the groups. In contrast to the control group performance, the orbitofrontal group performance was improved by relevant threat signal in comparison with neutral signal. Further, task-relevant threat signals evoked larger frontocentral N2-P3 amplitude in the orbitofrontal group. Taken together, behavioral and electrophysiological results suggest that patients with OFC injury allocated more attentional and cognitive control resources in the context of task-relevant emotional stimuli. This study provides new evidence for the role of the OFC in emotion-attention and emotion-cognitive control interactions. Further, the OFC seems to contribute to the balance between voluntary and involuntary attention networks in context of emotional stimuli. Better understanding of alterations in emotion-attention interaction offers insight into affective dysfunction due to OFC lesion.

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Published In

cover image Journal of Neurotrauma
Journal of Neurotrauma
Volume 34Issue Number 2January 15, 2017
Pages: 400 - 413
PubMed: 27502875

History

Published in print: January 15, 2017
Published online: 15 January 2017
Published ahead of print: 5 October 2016
Published ahead of production: 8 August 2016

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    Affiliations

    Verónica Mäki-Marttunen*
    Behavioral Neurology Research Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    Venla Kuusinen*
    Behavioral Neurology Research Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
    Jari Peräkylä
    Behavioral Neurology Research Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
    Keith H. Ogawa
    John Magaddino Neuroscience Laboratory, Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga, California.
    Maarja Brause
    Behavioral Neurology Research Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Antti Brander
    Department of Radiology, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Kaisa M. Hartikainen
    Behavioral Neurology Research Unit, Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.
    Medical School, University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.

    Notes

    *
    Both authors contributed equally to this article.
    Address correspondence to:Kaisa M. HartikainenBehavioral Neurology Research UnitDepartment of Neurosciences and RehabilitationTampere University HospitalFinnmedi 6, 5th Floor, Biokatu 1433520 TampereFinland
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Author Disclosure Statement

    No competing financial interests exist.

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