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Psychophysiology. 2001 Mar;38(2):175-8.

Fleeting images: a new look at early emotion discrimination.

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Health Sciences Center, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0165, USA.


The visual brain quickly sorted stimuli for emotional impact despite high-speed presentation (3 or 5 per s) in a sustained, serial torrent of 700 complex pictures. Event-related potentials, recorded with a dense electrode array, showed selective discrimination of emotionally arousing stimuli from less affective content. Primary sources of this activation were over the occipital cortices, extending to right parietal cortex, suggesting a processing focus in the posterior visual system. Emotion discrimination was independent of formal pictorial properties (color, brightness. spatial frequency, and complexity). The data support the hypothesis of a very short-term conceptual memory store (M. C. Potter, 1999)-shown here to include a fleeting but reliable assessment of affective meaning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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