Electrocortical activity during emotion regulation in blood-injection-injury phobia and snake phobia
We studied the cortical activity related to emotion regulation in persons with phobia. We selected 14 blood-injection-injury phobics (BII), 13 snake phobics, and 15 non-phobic controls. The task consisted in a S1-S2 paradigm. S1 were two Spanish words indicating the experimental conditions (passive viewing/downregulation and blood-related/ snake), and S2 was a picture. We used 28 pictures of each category (blood-related and snakes), and each image was viewed twice (one per condition). The S1 and the S1-S2 interval lasted 2000 ms each, S2 lasted 4000 ms, and the ISI was set at 3000 ms. The EEG activity was recorded from 64 locations at 500Hz, with a 30 Hz low-pass filter. We calculated the stimuluspreceding negativity (SPN) at frontal regions during the 200 ms prior to S2 onset. The late positive potential (LPP) was calculated in two different intervals after S2 onset (400–1000 ms and 1000–4000 ms). For blood-related pictures, SPN was larger in the passive viewing condition than in the emotion regulation condition for both BII phobics and controls. In addition, the emotion regulation condition provoked larger LPP activity in the 400–1000 ms interval in both BII phobics and controls. For snake pictures, the emotion regulation condition elicited at 1000– 4000 ms lower LPP activity than the passive viewing condition in controls but not in snake phobics. Overall, these data suggest that phobic participants did not benefit from emotion regulation strategies.