Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Bob Bramson (Donders series 481)

30 April 2021

Promotor: prof. dr. K. Roelofs
Co-promotor: prof. dr. I. Toni

Rhythmic Control: Prefrontal Cortical ​Mechanisms of Emotional-Action Control

The ability to control emotional action tendencies is important for everyday functioning, as is evidenced by the severe occupational and societal difficulties experienced by people suffering from emotional control disorders such as social anxiety. In this thesis, Bob Bramson investigated how control over automatic emotional behavior is implemented in the brain.
We show that successful control depends on structural connections between prefrontal cortex and the amygdala; rhythmic communication between frontal cortex and areas involved in action execution (motor cortex). Increasing communication between these brain areas by means of electrical neurostimulation can improve a person’s ability to control automatic emotional tendencies. These findings provide stepping stones for the exploration of noninvasive electrical brain stimulation as a potential addition to treatment of psychological disorders that are hallmarked by difficulties in emotional action control.