Introspective minds: using ALE meta-analyses to study commonalities in the neural correlates of emotional processing, social & unconstrained cognition.
Previous research suggests overlap between brain regions that show task-induced deactivations and those activated during the performance of social-cognitive tasks. Here, we present results of quantitative meta-analyses of neuroimaging studies, which confirm a statistical convergence in the neural correlates of social and resting state cognition. Based on the idea that both social and unconstrained cognition might be characterized by introspective processes, which are also thought to be highly relevant for emotional experiences, a third meta-analysis was performed investigating studies on emotional processing. By using conjunction analyses across all three sets of studies, we can demonstrate significant overlap of task-related signal change in dorso-medial prefrontal and medial parietal cortex, brain regions that have, indeed, recently been linked to introspective abilities. Our findings, therefore, provide evidence for the existence of a core neural network, which shows task-related signal change during socio-emotional tasks and during resting states.