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Open AccessArticle

How Therapeutic Tapping Can Alter Neural Correlates of Emotional Prosody Processing in Anxiety

1
ICONE—Innsbruck Cognitive Neuroscience, Department for Hearing, Speech and Voice Disorders, Medical University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Department of Psychology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(8), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9080206
Received: 30 July 2019 / Revised: 9 August 2019 / Accepted: 12 August 2019 / Published: 19 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurobiology of Fear: From Basic Mechanisms to Therapeutic Approaches)
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorders worldwide resulting in a great demand of adequate and cost-effective treatment. New short-term interventions can be used as an effective adjunct or alternative to pharmaco- and psychotherapy. One of these approaches is therapeutic tapping. It combines somatic stimulation of acupressure points with elements from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Tapping reduces anxiety symptoms after only one session. Anxiety is associated with a deficient emotion regulation for threatening stimuli. These deficits are compensated e.g., by CBT. Whether Tapping can also elicit similar modulations and which dynamic neural correlates are affected was subject to this study. Anxiety patients were assessed listening to pseudowords with a different emotional prosody (happy, angry, fearful, and neutral) prior and after one Tapping session. The emotion-related component Late Positive Potential (LPP) was investigated via electroencephalography. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) served as control intervention. Results showed LPP reductions for negative stimuli after the interventions. Interestingly, PMR influenced fearful and Tapping altered angry prosody. While PMR generally reduced arousal for fearful prosody, Tapping specifically affected fear-eliciting, angry stimuli, and might thus be able to reduce anxiety symptoms. Findings highlight the efficacy of Tapping and its impact on neural correlates of emotion regulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: electroencephalography (EEG); event-related brain potentials (ERPs); emotional prosody; anxiety; therapy research; Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT); Tapping; progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) electroencephalography (EEG); event-related brain potentials (ERPs); emotional prosody; anxiety; therapy research; Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT); Tapping; progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
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König, N.; Steber, S.; Seebacher, J.; von Prittwitz, Q.; Bliem, H.R.; Rossi, S. How Therapeutic Tapping Can Alter Neural Correlates of Emotional Prosody Processing in Anxiety. Brain Sci. 2019, 9, 206.

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