First valence, then arousal: the temporal dynamics of brain electric activity evoked by emotional stimuli

Gianotti, Lorena; Faber, Pascal L; Schuler, Matthias; Pascual-Marqui, Roberto D; Kochi, Kieko; Lehmann, Dietrich (2008). First valence, then arousal: the temporal dynamics of brain electric activity evoked by emotional stimuli. Brain topography, 20(3), pp. 143-156. Springer 10.1007/s10548-007-0041-2

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The temporal dynamics of the neural activity that implements the dimensions valence and arousal during processing of emotional stimuli were studied in two multi-channel ERP experiments that used visually presented emotional words (experiment 1) and emotional pictures (experiment 2) as stimulus material. Thirty-two healthy subjects participated (mean age 26.8 +/- 6.4 years, 24 women). The stimuli in both experiments were selected on the basis of verbal reports in such a way that we were able to map the temporal dynamics of one dimension while controlling for the other one. Words (pictures) were centrally presented for 450 (600) ms with interstimulus intervals of 1,550 (1,400) ms. ERP microstate analysis of the entire epochs of stimulus presentations parsed the data into sequential steps of information processing. The results revealed that in several microstates of both experiments, processing of pleasant and unpleasant valence (experiment 1, microstate #3: 118-162 ms, #6: 218-238 ms, #7: 238-266 ms, #8: 266-294 ms; experiment 2, microstate #5: 142-178 ms, #6: 178-226 ms, #7: 226-246 ms, #9: 262-302 ms, #10: 302-330 ms) as well as of low and high arousal (experiment 1, microstate #8: 266-294 ms, #9: 294-346 ms; experiment 2, microstate #10: 302-330 ms, #15: 562-600 ms) involved different neural assemblies. The results revealed also that in both experiments, information about valence was extracted before information about arousal. The last microstate of valence extraction was identical with the first microstate of arousal extraction.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Gianotti, Lorena


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Lorena Gianotti

Date Deposited:

24 Dec 2014 10:33

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:38

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Emotional processing, ERP, Microstate analysis, Valence, Arousal, Temporal dynamics




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