Neutral Stimuli (neutral + stimulus)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Paranoid thinking as a heuristic

Antonio Preti
Abstract Paranoid thinking can be viewed as a human heuristic used by individuals to deal with uncertainty during stressful situations. Under stress, individuals are likely to emphasize the threatening value of neutral stimuli and increase the reliance on paranoia-based heuristic to interpreter events and guide their decisions. Paranoid thinking can also be activated by stress arising from the possibility of losing a good opportunity; this may result in an abnormal allocation of attentional resources to social agents. A better understanding of the interplay between cognitive heuristics and emotional processes may help to detect situations in which paranoid thinking is likely to exacerbate and improve intervention for individuals with delusional disorders. [source]

Enhancement of activity of the primary visual cortex during processing of emotional stimuli as measured with event-related functional near-infrared spectroscopy and event-related potentials

Martin J. Herrmann
Abstract In this study we investigated whether event-related near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is suitable to measure changes in brain activation of the occipital cortex modulated by the emotional content of the visual stimuli. As we found in a previous pilot study that only positive but not negative stimuli differ from neutral stimuli (with respect to oxygenated haemoglobin), we now measured the event-related EEG potentials and NIRS simultaneously during the same session. Thereby, we could evaluate whether the subjects (n = 16) processed the positive as well as the negative emotional stimuli in a similar way. During the task, the subjects passively viewed positive, negative, and neutral emotional pictures (40 presentations were shown in each category, and pictures were taken from the International Affective Picture System, IAPS). The stimuli were presented for 3 s in a randomized order (with a mean of 3 s interstimulus interval). During the task, we measured the event-related EEG potentials over the electrode positions O1, Oz, O2, and Pz and the changes of oxygenated and deoxygenated haemoglobin by multichannel NIRS over the occipital cortex. The EEG results clearly show an increased early posterior negativity over the occipital cortex for both positive as well as negative stimuli compared to neutral. The results for the NIRS measurement were less clear. Although positive as well as negative stimuli lead to significantly higher decrease in deoxygenated haemoglobin than neutral stimuli, this was not found for the oxygenated haemoglobin. Hum Brain Mapp 29:28,35, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Mapping the time course of nonconscious and conscious perception of fear: An integration of central and peripheral measures

Leanne M. Williams
Abstract Neuroimaging studies using backward masking suggest that conscious and nonconscious responses to complex signals of fear (facial expressions) occur via parallel cortical and subcortical circuits. Little is known, however, about the temporal differentiation of these responses. Psychophysics procedures were first used to determine objective thresholds for both nonconscious detection (face vs. blank screen) and discrimination (fear vs. neutral face) in a backward masking paradigm. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were then recorded (n = 20) using these thresholds. Ten blocks of masked fear and neutral faces were presented under each threshold condition. Simultaneously recorded skin conductance responses (SCRs) provided an independent index of stimulus perception. It was found that Fear stimuli evoked faster SCR rise times than did neutral stimuli across all conditions, indicating that emotional content influenced responses, regardless of awareness. In the first 400 msec of processing, ERPs dissociated the time course of conscious (enhanced N4 component) from nonconscious (enhanced N2 component) perception of fear, relative to neutral. Nonconscious detection of fear also elicited relatively faster P1 responses within 100 msec post-stimulus. The N2 may provide a temporal correlate of the initial sensory processing of salient facial configurations, which is enhanced when top-down cortical feedback is precluded. By contrast, the N4 may index the conscious integration of emotion stimuli in working memory, subserved by greater cortical engagement. Hum. Brain Mapping 21:64,74, 2004. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Posttraumatic stress disorder in rape victims: Autonomic habituation to auditory stimuli

Barbara Olasov Rothbaum
Abstract Impaired capacity for physiological habituation may contribute to the persistence of PTSD. Habituation ofautonomic responses to auditory tones was examined in 43 women in three groups: 14 adult female rape survivors with chronic PTSD, 11 without PTSD, and a comparison group of 18 who had not been raped. There were no significant differences among the groups in baseline cardiac or electrodermal activity. The PTSD group showed significantly slower electrodermal habituation, as measured by trials to extinction and percentage of nonhabituators, than did the comparison groups. The present study found slower habituation of electrodermal responses for PTSD rape victims to neutral stimuli than for non-PTSD victims and nonvictims. [source]

Gamma band activity and its synchronization reflect the dysfunctional emotional processing in alexithymic persons

Atsushi Matsumoto
Abstract In the present study, we investigated the gamma band response and its phase synchrony between electrodes in alexithymia, which is characterized by a disability in identifying and describing feelings. Individuals with high and low alexithymia scores were selected according to the scores on the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale. EEG was recorded from alexithymic and nonalexithymic persons viewing emotionally negative or neutral stimuli. Nonalexithymic persons exhibited increased gamma band power and phase synchronization at the 400,450-ms time window when processing emotionally negative stimuli. Neither enhanced gamma band power nor phase synchronization was observed in alexithymic persons in the negative emotion condition. These results suggest that gamma band activity reflects emotional processing, and alexithymic persons may have a deficit in communication between brain regions or in the utilization of memory or emotional information during the processing of emotional stimuli. [source]

Electromagnetic brain activity evoked by affective stimuli in schizophrenia

Brigitte Rockstroh
Abstract Schizophrenia is typically associated with cognitive deficits, but symptoms also point to alterations in the processing of affective material, with potential impact on behavioral performance. This impact may unfold on multiple time scales, but initial processing of rapidly unfolding social cues may be particularly important. MEG-assessed regional brain activity associated with the capacity to process the emotional content of rapid visual stimuli (3/s) was examined in 12 individuals with schizophrenia and 12 matched controls. Patients showed less differentiation of emotional versus neutral stimuli 90,300 ms following picture onset. Together with group differences in the lateral topography of valence effects, these results are discussed as evidence of deficient automatic processing of emotionally potent stimuli in schizophrenia. [source]

Electrophysiological correlates of threat processing in spider phobics

Iris-Tatjana Kolassa
Abstract The electrocortical correlates of the processing of feared/fear-relevant and neutral stimuli were investigated in a pictorial emotional Stroop paradigm with spider phobic, social phobic, and nonphobic subjects. Subjects identified either the color of red or blue pictures of spiders, birds, or flowers (emotional Stroop task) or the object itself (identification task) by pressing different buttons. No emotional Stroop interference was found for spider phobic subjects when identifying the color of spiders as opposed to neutral stimuli. However, in the object identification task, spider phobic subjects identified spiders significantly faster than birds or flowers. Parietal P300 and P400 amplitudes were enhanced independent of task in spider phobic but not in nonphobic subjects when viewing pictures of spiders, which is consistent with previous studies showing that highly unpleasant and arousing pictures affect parietal late positive potentials. [source]

Test of the dual-belief system in women with and without phobic fear of spiders: a pilot study

Patrick Pössel
This study tests the so-called dual-belief systems. According to this concept, patients with phobia foster two conflicting peripheral beliefs (situational dependent) about the fear-inducing stimulus. The existence of such conflicting beliefs can only be explained by so-called bridging core beliefs. These bridging core beliefs are situation independent and integrate the contradictions of the peripheral beliefs. To test the existence of bridging core beliefs, 60 women with and without spider phobia were interviewed during exposition to phobic and neutral stimuli. Women with phobic anxiety reported more phobic emotions, thoughts, and peripheral beliefs during exposure to a phobic stimulus than during exposure to a neutral stimulus. In core beliefs no differences between the two conditions were found. In the non-phobic control group, no differences were found for the conditions in any of the dependent variables. All together, these data provide support for the existence of dual-belief systems as well as bridging core beliefs.,Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]