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Neural underpinnings of individual differences in emotion regulation: A systematic review.

This review synthesises individual differences in neural processes related to emotion regulation (ER). It comprises individual differences in self-reported and physiological regulation success, self-reported ER-related traits, and demographic variables, to assess their correlation with brain activation during ER tasks. Considering region-of-interest (ROI) and whole-brain analyses, the review incorporated data from 52 functional magnetic resonance imaging studies. Results can be summarized as follows: (1) Self-reported regulation success (assessed by emotional state ratings after regulation) and self-reported ER-related traits (assessed by questionnaires) correlated with brain activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex. (2) Amygdala activation correlated with ER-related traits only in ROI analyses, while it was associated with regulation success in whole-brain analyses. (3) For demographic and physiological measures, there was no systematic overlap in effects reported across studies. In showing that individual differences in regulation success and ER-related traits can be traced back to differences in the neural activity of brain regions associated with emotional reactivity (amygdala) and cognitive control (lateral prefrontal cortex), our findings can inform prospective personalised intervention models.

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