Face-elicited ERPs and affective attitude: brain electric microstate and tomography analyses

Pizzagalli, Diego; Lehmann, Dietrich; Koenig, Thomas; Regard, Marianne; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D. (2000). Face-elicited ERPs and affective attitude: brain electric microstate and tomography analyses. Clinical neurophysiology, 111(3), pp. 521-531. Elsevier 10.1016/S1388-2457(99)00252-7

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Objectives: Although behavioral studies have demonstrated that normative affective traits modulate the processing of facial and emotionally charged stimuli, direct electrophysiological evidence for this modulation is still lacking.

Methods: Event-related potential (ERP) data associated with personal, traitlike approach- or withdrawal-related attitude (assessed post-recording and 14 months later) were investigated in 18 subjects during task-free (i.e. unrequested, spontaneous) emotional evaluation of faces. Temporal and spatial aspects of 27 channel ERP were analyzed with microstate analysis and low resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA), a new method to compute 3 dimensional cortical current density implemented in the Talairach brain atlas.

Results: Microstate analysis showed group differences 132-196 and 196-272 ms poststimulus, with right-shifted electric gravity centers for subjects with negative affective attitude. During these (over subjects reliably identifiable) personality-modulated, face-elicited microstates, LORETA revealed activation of bilateral occipito-temporal regions, reportedly associated with facial configuration extraction processes. Negative compared to positive affective attitude showed higher activity right temporal; positive compared to negative attitude showed higher activity left temporo-parieto-occipital.

Conclusions: These temporal and spatial aspects suggest that the subject groups differed in brain activity at early, automatic, stimulus-related face processing steps when structural face encoding (configuration extraction) occurs. In sum, the brain functional microstates associated with affect-related personality features modulate brain mechanisms during face processing already at early information processing stages.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychiatric Neurophysiology [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

König, Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Thomas König

Date Deposited:

18 Aug 2014 09:42

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:27

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Emotion, Event related potential microstates, Brain functional imaging, Low resolution electromagnetic tomography, Personality, Laterality





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