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Keywords:

  • Descriptors: Appraisal;
  • Goal conduciveness appraisal;
  • Power appraisal;
  • FRN;
  • P300;
  • Gambling task

Abstract

The Component Process Model hypothesizes that appraisal—the mechanism that elicits and differentiates emotion—is processed sequentially. It predicts that the goal conduciveness check (motivational valence evaluation) is evaluated before the power check (evaluation of the degree of power to act on events). To test this prediction, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) during a gambling task in response to feedback that simultaneously presented the goal conduciveness (outcome: win, loss, or break-even) and the power check (options to act on the outcome) information. In line with the sequence hypothesis, mean amplitudes of subsequent ERPs were differentially modulated by the appraisal information. The feedback-related negativity was sensitive to the goal conduciveness check, and the P300 yielded main effects of both appraisal checks. Results suggest that neural evaluative processes associated with appraisal processing are sequential.