Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology

Neural Correlates of Emotion–Cognition Interaction During Working Memory Maintenance in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: The Role of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex


Department of Psychiatry, Jeonbuk National University Medical School, Jeonju, Korea


Research Institute of Clinical Medicine of Jeonbuk National University-Biomedical Research Institute Jeonbuk National University Hospital, Jeonju, Korea


Advanced Institute of Aging Science, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea


Quantitative Medical Imaging Section, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA


Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Korea

Psychiatry and Clinical Psychopharmacology 2022; 32: 344-350
DOI: 10.5152/pcp.2022.21280
Read: 1116 Downloads: 440 Published: 01 December 2022

The neural correlates for the effect of emotional distraction on working memory (WM) function in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have not been clearly identified. This study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the effect of emotional distraction during WM maintenance in OCD patients and to determine if the frontoparietal region was involved during the task. Patients with OCD tried to maintain WM during the task-irrelevant anxiety-provoking distractions, which induced interruption and needed attention. Compared with healthy controls, the patients with OCD showed significantly increased activities in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) supplementary motor area during the delayed-response WM task with anxiety-provoking distractors. An increase in the activity of the DLPFC and SMA reflects compensatory efforts of neural circuits to perform cognitive tasks by controlling emotions and inhibiting the interference of anxiety provoking distractors during WM tasks. In addition, the brain areas showed significantly decreased activities during the delayed-response WM task with neutral distractors were superior parietal gyrus and fusiform gyrus. The parietal cortex, along with the DLPFC is the main structure for frontoparietal network and is involved in cognitive control. Therefore, parietal dysfunction in OCD patients prevents them from paying appropriate attention to visual processing for picture distractors during the WM task. Our findings might be helpful for further understanding of the neural correlates that are associated with the effects of emotional distraction on cognitive function in OCD.

Cite this article as: Nam S-H, Park J-I, Kim G-W, Moon C-M, Yang J-C. Neural correlates of emotion–cognition interaction during working memory maintenance in obsessive-compulsive disorder: the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Psychiatry Clin Psychopharmacol. 2022;32(4):344-350.

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