In search of convergent regional brain abnormality in cognitive emotion regulation: A transdiagnostic neuroimaging meta-analysis

Hum Brain Mapp. 2022 Mar;43(4):1309-1325. doi: 10.1002/hbm.25722. Epub 2021 Nov 26.


Ineffective use of adaptive cognitive strategies (e.g., reappraisal) to regulate emotional states is often reported in a wide variety of psychiatric disorders, suggesting a common characteristic across different diagnostic categories. However, the extent of shared neurobiological impairments is incompletely understood. This study, therefore, aimed to identify the transdiagnostic neural signature of disturbed reappraisal using the coordinate-based meta-analysis (CBMA) approach. Following the best-practice guidelines for conducting neuroimaging meta-analyses, we systematically searched PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science databases and tracked the references. Out of 1,608 identified publications, 32 whole-brain neuroimaging studies were retrieved that compared brain activation in patients with psychiatric disorders and healthy controls during a reappraisal task. Then, the reported peak coordinates of group comparisons were extracted and several activation likelihood estimation (ALE) analyses were performed at three hierarchical levels to identify the potential spatial convergence: the global level (i.e., the pooled analysis and the analyses of increased/decreased activations), the experimental-contrast level (i.e., the analyses of grouped data based on the regulation goal, stimulus valence, and instruction rule) and the disorder-group level (i.e., the analyses across the experimental-contrast level focused on increasing homogeneity of disorders). Surprisingly, none of our analyses provided significant convergent findings. This CBMA indicates a lack of transdiagnostic convergent regional abnormality related to reappraisal task, probably due to the complex nature of cognitive emotion regulation, heterogeneity of clinical populations, and/or experimental and statistical flexibility of individual studies.

Keywords: activation likelihood estimation; coordinate-based meta-analysis; emotion regulation; reappraisal.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Emotional Regulation / physiology*
  • Functional Neuroimaging*
  • Humans