The failure to successfully regulate emotions is thought to contribute to several mental-health problems but the brain processes that underly emotional regulation are not fully understood as yet. The prefrontal cortex is thought to play an important part in this process but there is relatively little evidence into how the prefrontal cortex interacts with areas deep in the brain that are responsible for our 'gut' reaction to events and people. Researchers at Columbia University in the U.S. found two pathways that linked the prefrontal cortex to these deep-brain regions. The pathway between the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens was associated with greater reductions in negative emotions while the pathway between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala was associated with an increase in negative emotion.
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