Repressors show more prefrontal brain activity to irrelevant negative stimuli during a visual search task: An fMRI preliminary study  

Deak A., Kaplar M., Toth L., Bogner P., Revesz G., Bernath L.
First author's affiliation: University of Pecs, Institute of Psychology, Pecs, Hungary

People with repressive personality style tend to keep distance from threatening or negative emotional experiences. When faced with unpleasant stimuli, they show higher level of responsiveness due to physiological mechanisms. They have been found hypersensitive in their cognitive attention. In our fMRI study, we investigated repressor and non-repressor subjects' brain activity during a visual search task. Using a block-design paradigm, subjects were instructed to follow numbers in a matrix while either an unpleasant (active phase) or a neutral picture (baseline phase) was presented in the background. Our preliminary results show that repressors have more neural activation in the right prefrontal cortex (superior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus) and left inferior temporal gyrus. Activation in the cingular cortex have been found in the non-repressor group.