- Right Posterior Parietal Cortex is involved in disengaging from threat: a 1-Hz rTMS study
- Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 11
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (ISS)
Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
The right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is implicated in spatial attention, but its specific role in emotional spatial attention remains unclear. In this study, we combined inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with a fear-conditioning paradigm to test the role of the right PPC in attentional control of task-irrelevant threatening distractors. In a sham-controlled within-subject design, 1-Hz repetitive TMS was applied to the left and right PPC after which participants performed a visual search task with a distractor that was either associated with a loud noise burst (threat) or not (non-threat). Results demonstrated attentional capture across all conditions as evidenced by the typical reaction time costs of the distractor. However, only after inhibitory rTMS to the right PPC reaction time cost in the threatening distractor condition was increased relative to the non-threatening distractor condition, suggesting that attention lingered longer on the threatening distractor. We propose that the right PPC is involved in disengagement of attention from emotionally salient stimuli in order to re-orient attention to task relevant stimuli and may have implications for anxiety disorders associated with difficulties to disengage from threatening stimuli.
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