Effect of emotional valence on episodic memory stages as indexed by event-related potentials


Several investigations have shown that emotional events show superior recall than non-emotional ones. However, the cortical mechanisms underlying the episodic recall of emotional scenes are still poorly understood. Our main aim was to compare the magnitude of the Event-Related brain Potentials (ERP) old-new effect related to emotionally unpleasant, pleasant and neutral photographic images. As expected, correct recognition of all types of images elicited three topographically distinct ERP components sensitive to the classical old-new recognition effect. The results revealed that the behavioral performances were mainly sensitive to arousal, while the ERP old/new effect over posterior regions (300 - 1000 ms) was exclusively affected by unpleasantness. A later component (1000 - 1400 ms) showed an inverted old/ new effect at parietal sites, which was also sensitive to unpleasantness. These results imply that ERP reflecting episodic conscious recollection and post-retrieval monitoring are clearly affected both by valence and arousal.

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Lavoie, M. and O’Connor, K. (2013) Effect of emotional valence on episodic memory stages as indexed by event-related potentials. World Journal of Neuroscience, 3, 250-262. doi: 10.4236/wjns.2013.34034.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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