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Brain Topogr. 2008 Jun;20(4):205-15. doi: 10.1007/s10548-008-0052-7. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Emotion processing in the visual brain: a MEG analysis.

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Department of Psychology, University of Basel, Missionsstrasse 60/62, 4055 Basel, Switzerland.


Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related brain potential (ERP) studies provide empirical support for the notion that emotional cues guide selective attention. Extending this line of research, whole head magneto-encephalogram (MEG) was measured while participants viewed in separate experimental blocks a continuous stream of either pleasant and neutral or unpleasant and neutral pictures, presented for 330 ms each. Event-related magnetic fields (ERF) were analyzed after intersubject sensor coregistration, complemented by minimum norm estimates (MNE) to explore neural generator sources. Both streams of analysis converge by demonstrating the selective emotion processing in an early (120-170 ms) and a late time interval (220-310 ms). ERF analysis revealed that the polarity of the emotion difference fields was reversed across early and late intervals suggesting distinct patterns of activation in the visual processing stream. Source analysis revealed the amplified processing of emotional pictures in visual processing areas with more pronounced occipito-parieto-temporal activation in the early time interval, and a stronger engagement of more anterior, temporal, regions in the later interval. Confirming previous ERP studies showing facilitated emotion processing, the present data suggest that MEG provides a complementary look at the spread of activation in the visual processing stream.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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