Research funded by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network and the National Institute of Aging revealed a link between negative mood and increased activity in the amygdala region of the brain.
As published in JNeurosci, researchers examined the data of 52 adult participants as part of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study. The participants underwent fMRI scans while being shown affective images followed by a neutral facial expression.
Upon activation of the amygdala in an identical manner as the participants had looked at negative images and then the neutral expressions, researchers determined that constant activity predicted surges in negative mood.
The findings reveal how amygdala activity may be more influential toward psychological well-being than previously known.
“When the amygdala activated in a similar pattern as the participants viewed negative images and the neutral faces that followed, this persistent activity predicted increases in negative daily mood and decreases in positive daily mood. In turn, participants who experienced increased positive mood displayed greater psychological wellbeing,” a news release reads.
“These results suggest amygdala activity influences how a person feels day-to-day, which can impact overall psychological wellbeing.”
The study was published online on March 22nd, 2021.