Evidence of the dicotomy reactive/predictive control in the brain

Mattie Tops, Markus Quirin, Maarten A.S. Boksem, Sander L. Koole, Large-scale neural networks and the lateralization of motivation and emotion, International Journal of Psychophysiology, Volume 119, 2017, Pages 41-49, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2017.02.004.

Several lines of research in animals and humans converge on the distinction between two basic large-scale brain networks of self-regulation, giving rise to predictive and reactive control systems (PARCS). Predictive (internally-driven) and reactive (externally-guided) control are supported by dorsal versus ventral corticolimbic systems, respectively. Based on extant empirical evidence, we demonstrate how the PARCS produce frontal laterality effects in emotion and motivation. In addition, we explain how this framework gives rise to individual differences in appraising and coping with challenges. PARCS theory integrates separate fields of research, such as research on the motivational correlates of affect, EEG frontal alpha power asymmetry and implicit affective priming effects on cardiovascular indicators of effort during cognitive task performance. Across these different paradigms, converging evidence points to a qualitative motivational division between, on the one hand, angry and happy emotions, and, on the other hand, sad and fearful emotions. PARCS suggests that those two pairs of emotions are associated with predictive and reactive control, respectively. PARCS theory may thus generate important new insights on the motivational and emotional dynamics that drive autonomic and homeostatic control processes.

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