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Neurosci Lett. 2006 Jul 31;403(1-2):90-5. Epub 2006 May 22.

Differential time course and intensity of PFC activation for men and women in response to emotional stimuli: a functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) study.

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Human Neuropsychology Laboratory, Department of Experimental Psychology, School of Psychology, C/Camilo José Cela s/n, University of Seville, Spain.


Using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) we recorded prefrontal cortex (PFC) activation during positive, negative and neutral film clips, based on affective ratings according to their valence and arousal, to assess gender differences in cerebral activation in 15 male and 15 female volunteers. To record PFC activation, five movie clips were presented on a 17-in. TFT screen. The recordings included a pre-stimulus 5-s local baseline and "on" and "off" segments of data, referring to fNIRS Oxy-Hb levels while stimulation (movie clip) was present and during an inter-stimulus blank screen. Our data showed gender differences in the delay period to initial PFC activation and in the course and intensity of activation produced by affective visual stimuli. During the exposure or "on" period of the stimuli we observed more pronounced overshoot and undershoot in men versus women across the range of emotions elicited. This effect was even more pronounced following stimulus cessation ("off" period). The results indicate that gender and the duration of recordings may affect the results of emotional neuroimaging studies.

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