Thursday, June 15, 2006

Calming Oneself Down with the MPFC: Pain , Autism, and Test Anxiety

Here it looks as if the medial prefrontal cortex has a significant role accounting for individual differences in pain perception, the emotional dysregulation seen in autistic individuals, and test anxiety. The MPFC has been implicated in theory mind & an ability to perceive the mental states of others. In the figure below, emotional anxiety about pain, pain perception, and MPFC activation all appear to relate to each other in a linear fashion.

From this autism study, control subjects had an easier time calming their MPFC down (more difference emotion vs. neutral).

Finally, here's the look of your brain getting a pop quiz: look how much happier the MPFC looks (deactivated, warm colors) if you get a chance to practice before a challenging task...


Trouble with Deactivation in Autism - Figures HTML
mPFC and mental states pdf
Individual differences in pain-related fear and anxiety pdf

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