Dynamic functional brain networks underlying the temporal inertia of negative emotions

Neuroimage. 2021 Oct 15:240:118377. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2021.118377. Epub 2021 Jul 10.


Affective inertia represents the lasting impact of transient emotions at one time point on affective state at a subsequent time point. Here we describe the neural underpinnings of inertia following negative emotions elicited by sad events in movies. Using a co-activation pattern analysis of dynamic functional connectivity, we examined the temporal expression and reciprocal interactions among brain-wide networks during movies and subsequent resting periods in twenty healthy subjects. Our findings revealed distinctive spatiotemporal expression of visual (VIS), default mode (DMN), central executive (CEN), and frontoparietal control (FPCN) networks both in negative movies and in rest periods following these movies. We also identified different reciprocal relationships among these networks, in transitions from movie to rest. While FPCN and DMN expression increased during and after negative movies, respectively, FPCN occurrences during the movie predicted lower DMN and higher CEN expression during subsequent rest after neutral movies, but this relationship was reversed after the elicitation of negative emotions. Changes in FPCN and DMN activity correlated with more negative subjective affect. These findings provide new insights into the transient interactions of intrinsic brain networks underpinning the inertia of negative emotions. More specifically, they describe a major role of FPCN in emotion elicitation processes, with prolonged impact on DMN activity in subsequent rest, presumably involved in emotion regulation and restoration of homeostatic balance after negative events.

Keywords: Affective inertia; Brain networks; Dynamic functional connectivity (dFC); Emotions; Task-rest interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult