ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2024, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (1): 131-137.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2024.00131

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇


董婉欣, 于文汶, 谢慧, 张丹丹()   

  1. 四川师范大学脑与心理科学研究院, 成都 610066
  • 收稿日期:2023-03-22 出版日期:2024-01-15 发布日期:2023-10-25
  • 通讯作者: 张丹丹
  • 基金资助:

Neurocognitive basis underlying interpersonal emotion regulation

DONG Wanxin, YU Wenwen, XIE Hui, ZHANG Dandan()   

  1. Institute of Brain and Psychological Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610066, China
  • Received:2023-03-22 Online:2024-01-15 Published:2023-10-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Dandan


人际情绪调节是社会互动一方有意改变另一方情绪状态的过程, 它有利于个体的心理健康和社会关系发展, 并且具有不同于自我情绪调节的独特优势。近年已有不少脑成像研究考察了人际情绪调节, 在一定程度上揭示了该过程的脑神经基础: 人际情绪调节涉及心智化系统(楔前叶、颞顶联合区、内侧前额叶等)、情绪反应系统(杏仁核、脑岛等)和情绪调控系统(外侧前额叶、内侧前额叶、扣带回等), 其中心智化系统是不同于自我情绪调节的特异性脑区。未来研究可纳入不同人群作为研究对象, 将脑观测技术与脑调控技术相结合, 从单脑和双脑两个层面对人际情绪调节的认知神经机制深入探讨, 为人际情绪调节在应用领域的实施和推广提供科学依据。

关键词: 情绪调节, 人际互动, 心智化系统, 超扫描


Interpersonal emotion regulation refers to the process in which one person intentionally influences the emotional state of another person during social interactions. It has been found to be beneficial for individual psychological well-being and the development of social relationships, and it has distinct advantages compared to Interpersonal emotion regulation (i.e. individual’s regulation of their own emotional states). In recent years, research on the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying interpersonal emotion regulation has gained momentum, providing some insights into the neural basis of this process. Specifically, interpersonal emotion regulation involves the participation of the mentalizing system (including the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the temporo-parietal junction, and the anterior insula), the emotional response system (including the amygdala and the insula), and the emotion regulation system (including the frontal and parietal lobes), with the mentalizing system being the core brain area.

This present review focused on these three brain networks and provided an overview of the current understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying extrinsic and intrinsic interpersonal emotion regulation. In extrinsic interpersonal regulation, the regulator relies on the mentalizing system to infer the emotional state of the target and selects appropriate emotion regulation strategies for him. The regulator also needs to engage the emotion regulation system to actively search for and implement emotion regulation strategies, in order to alter the neural activity levels of the target’s emotion response system. Furthermore, the regulator's reward system is likely involved and promotes emotion regulation during prosocial helping. In intrinsic interpersonal regulation, the target relies on the mentalizing system to understand the regulating intentions and behaviors of others. With the help of others providing regulation strategies, the target' s reliance on the prefrontal control system tends to decrease during emotion regulation. However, the field of interpersonal emotion regulation is still relatively new, and our understanding of its cognitive and neural mechanisms, particularly the cognitive neuroscientific mechanisms, is still limited.

Based on existing research, we believed there are four important issues that need to be addressed in future studies. Firstly, the current research on the brain mechanisms underlying extrinsic and intrinsic interpersonal emotion regulation is still incomplete, and the available neuroscientific evidence is insufficient. We recommended that future studies utilize brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), along with innovative research paradigms in interpersonal emotion regulation, to explore those unanswered questions. Secondly, most existing studies have focused on the neural activity of single brains and lack dual-brain research. However, dual-brain evidence is essential for constructing cognitive neuroscientific models of interpersonal emotion regulation. We suggested using whole-brain coverage techniques such as electroencephalography and near-infrared spectroscopy hyperscanning to reveal the interactive processes between regulator and target. Thirdly, the cognitive neuroscientific models of interpersonal emotion regulation are not yet fully developed, and the specific brain regions that distinguish interpersonal regulation from self-regulation need further investigation and clarification. We recommend future research to fully consider the interactive and complex nature of interpersonal emotion regulation, examine the impact of various factors such as interpersonal relationship contexts, gender, personality traits, and intimacy levels on interpersonal emotion regulation using a combination of neurophysiological observations, behavioral measurements, and path analysis techniques to reveal the cognitive mechanisms underlying the interaction between regulator and target. Fourthly, there is currently a lack of applied research in the field, particularly in terms of noninvasive neuromodulation as well as a lack of intervention studies. We recommend that future applied research be conducted in two areas: enhancing the interpersonal emotion regulation abilities of healthy individuals through training and providing clinical interventions for specific populations such as individuals with depression.

In conclusion, the field of interpersonal emotion regulation is still emerging, and further research should prioritize addressing the aforementioned issues to advance this important area of research.

Key words: emotion regulation, interpersonal emotion regulation, mentalizing system, hyperscanning