Neural Connectivity Underlying Reward and Emotion-Related Processing: Evidence From a Large-Scale Network Analysis

Alla Yankouskaya* (Corresponding Author), Toby Denholm-Smith, Dewei Yi, Andrew Greenshaw, Bo Cao, Jie Sui

*Corresponding author for this work

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Neuroimaging techniques have advanced our knowledge about neurobiological mechanisms of reward and emotion processing. It remains unclear whether reward and emotion-related processing share the same neural connection topology and how intrinsic brain functional connectivity organization changes to support emotion- and reward-related prioritized effects in decision-making. The present study addressed these challenges using a large-scale neural network analysis approach. We applied this approach to two independent functional magnetic resonance imaging datasets, where participants performed a reward value or emotion associative matching task with tight control over experimental conditions. The results revealed that interaction between the Default Mode Network, Frontoparietal, Dorsal Attention, and Salience networks engaged distinct topological structures to support the effects of reward, positive and negative emotion processing. Detailed insights into the properties of these connections are important for understanding in detail how the brain responds in the presence of emotion and reward related stimuli. We discuss the linking of reward- and emotion- related processing to emotional regulation, an important aspect of regulation of human behavior in relation to mental health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number833625
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council (ES/K013424/1) and the Leverhulme Trust (RPG-2019-010).

Data Availability Statement

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: 25/full#supplementary-material.
The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/Supplementary Material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author.


  • self-prioritization
  • reward processing
  • emotion processing
  • default mode network
  • frontoparietal network
  • salience network
  • interaction


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