Common and distinct brain networks underlying explicit emotional evaluation: a meta-analytic study

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2012 Jun;7(5):521-34. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsp001. Epub 2009 Mar 6.


Brain mechanisms underlying explicit evaluation of emotion have been explored using different tasks including 'stimulus-focused evaluation', 'evaluation of one's own emotion' and 'evaluation of others' emotions'. Yet the extent to which similar brain mechanisms underlie different evaluation tasks is unclear. A meta-analysis of published neuroimaging studies of explicit emotional evaluation was conducted to examine common and distinct regions underlying these different evaluation tasks. This study revealed regions common to all three tasks: The amygdala and LPFC as common regions may be involved in emotion-cognition interactions, and the DMPFC may possibly play integrative roles in explicit emotional evaluation. Distinct regions were also identified: (i) the sensory cortex and VLPFC were specifically associated with 'stimulus evaluation', possibly involved in perceptual and conceptual processing; (ii) the insula and rACC were specifically associated with 'evaluation of one's own emotion', potentially associated with interoceptive and experiential processing; and (iii) the STS and TPJ were specifically associated with 'evaluation of others' emotions', potentially reflecting their roles in TOM and empathy. These findings suggest that different types of explicit emotional evaluation may involve common and distinct networks and provide new insights on multiple mechanisms underlying explicit emotional evaluation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neuroimaging
  • Psychological Theory
  • PubMed / statistics & numerical data