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Emotional content modulates response inhibition and perceptual processing

Authors

  • Suyong Yang,

    1. Key Laboratory of Exercise and Health Sciences of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
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  • Wenbo Luo,

    1. Laboratory of Cognition and Mental Health, Chongqing University of Arts and Sciences, Chongqing, China
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  • Xiangru Zhu,

    1. Department of Psychology, Henan University, Kaifeng, China
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  • Lucas S. Broster,

    1. Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA
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  • Taolin Chen,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
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  • Jinzhen Li,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
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  • Yuejia Luo

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Normal School, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen, China
    2. Sichuan Research Center of Applied Psychology, Chengdu Medical College, Chengdu, China
    • Address correspondence to: Dr. Yuejia Luo, Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Normal School, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China. E-mail: luoyj@bnu.edu.cn

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  • This work was supported by the First-Class Disciplines of Shanghai Colleges and Universities (Psychology) and the Engagement Fund of Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation of Beijing Normal University (08047) grants to Suyong Yang, the NSFC (91132704), Ministry of Science & Technology 973 Program (2014CB744600, 2011CB711000), the Foundation of the National Key Laboratory of Human Factors Engineering (HF2012-K-03), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities grants to Yuejia Luo, the National Institutes of Health (UL1RR033173, UL1TR000117, TL1TR000115) grants to L. S. Broster, and the NSFC (31170984, 31371033) grants to W. Luo.

Abstract

In this study, event-related potentials were used to investigate the effect of emotion on response inhibition. Participants performed an emotional go/no-go task that required responses to human faces associated with a “go” valence (i.e., emotional, neutral) and response inhibition to human faces associated with a “no-go” valence. Emotional content impaired response inhibition, as evidenced by decreased response accuracy and N2 amplitudes in no-go trials. More importantly, emotional expressions elicited larger N170 amplitudes than neutral expressions, and this effect was larger in no-go than in go trials, indicating that the perceptual processing of emotional expression had priority in inhibitory trials. In no-go trials, correlation analysis showed that increased N170 amplitudes were associated with decreased N2 amplitudes. Taken together, our findings suggest that emotional content impairs response inhibition due to the prioritization of emotional content processing.

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