A new paper by Manon has been accepted in SCAN.
The right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) is implicated in spatial attention, but its specific role in emotional spatial attention
remains unclear. In this study, we combined inhibitory transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) with a fear-conditioning
paradigm to test the role of the right PPC in attentional control of task-irrelevant threatening distractors. In a shamcontrolled
within-subject design, 1-Hz repetitive TMS was applied to the left and right PPC after which participants performed
a visual search task with a distractor that was either associated with a loud noise burst (threat) or not (non-threat).
Results demonstrated attentional capture across all conditions as evidenced by the typical reaction time costs of the distractor.
However, only after inhibitory rTMS to the right PPC reaction time cost in the threatening distractor condition was
increased relative to the non-threatening distractor condition, suggesting that attention lingered longer on the threatening
distractor. We propose that the right PPC is involved in disengagement of attention from emotionally salient stimuli in
order to re-orient attention to task relevant stimuli and may have implications for anxiety disorders associated with difficulties
to disengage from threatening stimuli.
Mulckhuyse, M., Engelmann, J. B., JLG Schutter, D., & Roelofs, K. (2017). Right posterior parietal cortex is involved in disengaging from threat: a 1 Hz rTMS study. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.