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BMC Neurosci. 2015 Dec 12;16:89. doi: 10.1186/s12868-015-0225-8.

Emotional words facilitate lexical but not early visual processing.

Author information

1
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Psychologie, Institut für Psychologie, Universität Leipzig, Neumarkt 9-19, 04109, Leipzig, Germany. sophie.trauer@uni-leipzig.de.
2
Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands. kotz@cbs.mpg.de.
3
Department of Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany. kotz@cbs.mpg.de.
4
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Psychologie, Institut für Psychologie, Universität Leipzig, Neumarkt 9-19, 04109, Leipzig, Germany. m.mueller@uni-leipzig.de.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Emotional scenes and faces have shown to capture and bind visual resources at early sensory processing stages, i.e. in early visual cortex. However, emotional words have led to mixed results. In the current study ERPs were assessed simultaneously with steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) to measure attention effects on early visual activity in emotional word processing. Neutral and negative words were flickered at 12.14 Hz whilst participants performed a Lexical Decision Task.

RESULTS:

Emotional word content did not modulate the 12.14 Hz SSVEP amplitude, neither did word lexicality. However, emotional words affected the ERP. Negative compared to neutral words as well as words compared to pseudowords lead to enhanced deflections in the P2 time range indicative of lexico-semantic access. The N400 was reduced for negative compared to neutral words and enhanced for pseudowords compared to words indicating facilitated semantic processing of emotional words. LPC amplitudes reflected word lexicality and thus the task-relevant response.

CONCLUSION:

In line with previous ERP and imaging evidence, the present results indicate that written emotional words are facilitated in processing only subsequent to visual analysis.

PMID:
26654384
PMCID:
PMC4676879
DOI:
10.1186/s12868-015-0225-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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