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A brief review of research using near-infrared spectroscopy to measure activation of the prefrontal cortex during emotional processing : the importance of experimental design

Bendall, RCA, Eachus, P and Thompson, C 2016, 'A brief review of research using near-infrared spectroscopy to measure activation of the prefrontal cortex during emotional processing : the importance of experimental design' , Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10 .

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Abstract

During the past two decades there has been a pronounced increase in the number of published research studies that have employed near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to measure neural activation. The technique is now an accepted neuroimaging tool adopted by cognitive neuroscientists to investigate a number of fields, one of which is the study of emotional processing. Crucially, one brain region that is important to the processing of emotional information is the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and NIRS is ideally suited to measuring activity in this region. Compared to other methods used to record neural activation, NIRS reduces the discomfort to participants, makes data collection from larger sample sizes more achievable, and allows measurement of activation during tasks involving physical movement. However, the use of NIRS to investigate the links between emotion and cognition has revealed mixed findings. For instance, whilst some studies report increased PFC activity associated with the processing of negative information, others show increased activity in relation to positive information. Research shows differences in PFC activity between different cognitive tasks, yet findings also vary within similar tasks. This work reviews a selection of recent studies that have adopted NIRS to study PFC activity during emotional processing in both healthy individuals and patient populations. It highlights the key differences between research findings and argues that variations in experimental design could be a contributing factor to the mixed results. Guidance is provided for future work in this area in order to improve consistency within this growing field.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1662-5161
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: WM Taylor
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2016 09:47
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2016 11:32
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/40322

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