Probing emotional influences on cognitive control: an ALE meta-analysis of cognition emotion interactions

Brain Struct Funct. 2014 May;219(3):995-1008. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0549-z. Epub 2013 Apr 7.


Increasing research documents an integration of cognitive control and affective processes. Despite a surge of interest in investigating the exact nature of this integration, no consensus has been reached on the precise neuroanatomical network involved. Using the activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis method, we examined 43 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies (total number of foci = 332; total number of participants, N = 820) from the literature that have reported significant interactions between emotion and cognitive control. Meta-analytic results revealed that concurrent emotion (relative to emotionally neutral trials) consistently increased neural activation during high relative to low cognitive control conditions across studies and paradigms. Specifically, these activations emerged in regions commonly implicated in cognitive control, such as the lateral prefrontal cortex (inferior frontal junction, inferior frontal gyrus), the medial prefrontal cortex, and the basal ganglia. In addition, some areas emerged during the interaction contrast that were not present during one of the main effects and included the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex and the precuneus. These data provide new evidence for a network of cognition emotion interaction within a cognitive control setting. The findings are discussed within current theories of cognitive and attentional control.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nerve Net / physiology