Abstract

Viewing emotional as compared with neutral images results in an increase in force production. An emotion-driven increase in force production has been associated with increased brain activity in ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and primary motor cortex (M1). In many instances, however, force production must be held constant despite changes in emotional state and the neural circuits underlying this form of control are not well understood. To address this issue, we designed a task in which subjects viewed pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral images during a force production task. We measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging and examined functional connectivity between emotion and motor circuits. Despite similar force performance across conditions, increased brain activity was evidenced in dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) and left ventral premotor cortex (PMv) when force was produced during emotional as compared with neutral conditions. Connectivity analyses extended these findings by demonstrating a task-dependent functional circuit between dmPFC and ventral and dorsal portions of premotor cortex. Our findings show that when force production has to be consistent despite changes in emotional context, a functional circuit between dmPFC and PMv and dorsal premotor cortex is engaged.

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