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Keywords:

  • affective arousal;
  • electroencephalography;
  • emotion;
  • Granger causality;
  • steady-state potentials

Abstract

Re-entrant modulation of visual cortex has been suggested as a critical process for enhancing perception of emotionally arousing visual stimuli. This study explores how the time information inherent in large-scale electrocortical measures can be used to examine the functional relationships among the structures involved in emotional perception. Granger causality analysis was conducted on steady-state visual evoked potentials elicited by emotionally arousing pictures flickering at a rate of 10 Hz. This procedure allows one to examine the direction of neural connections. Participants viewed pictures that varied in emotional content, depicting people in neutral contexts, erotica, or interpersonal attack scenes. Results demonstrated increased coupling between visual and cortical areas when viewing emotionally arousing content. Specifically, intraparietal to inferotemporal and precuneus to calcarine connections were stronger for emotionally arousing picture content. Thus, we provide evidence for re-entrant signal flow during emotional perception, which originates from higher tiers and enters lower tiers of visual cortex. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.