Emotion regulation deficits have been implicated in anxiety and depressive disorders, and these internalising disorders are more prevalent in women than men. Few electrophysiological studies have investigated sex differences in emotional reactivity and emotion regulation controlling for menstrual phase. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded from 28 early follicular women, 29 midluteal women, and 27 men who completed an emotion regulation task. A novel finding of increased N2 amplitude during suppression was found for midluteal women compared with men. These findings suggest midluteal women may be significantly less able to suppress cortical processing of negative stimuli compared to men. This ERP finding was complemented by behavioral ratings data which revealed that while both early follicular and midluteal women reported more distress than men, midluteal women also reported greater effort when suppressing their responses than men. P1 and N1 components were increased in midluteal women compared to men regardless of instructional set, suggesting greater early attentional processing. No sex or menstrual phase differences were apparent in P3 or LPP. This study underscores the importance of considering menstrual phase when examining sex differences in the cortical processing of emotion regulation and demonstrates that midluteal women may have deficits in down-regulating their neural and behavioural responses.
Cognitive, Affective, & Behaviorial Neuroscience – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 5, 2017
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