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Neural correlates of processing valence and arousal in affective words

Lewis, P.A.; Critchley, H.D.; Rotshtein, P.; Dolan, R.J.; (2007) Neural correlates of processing valence and arousal in affective words. Cerebral Cortex , 17 (3) pp. 742-748. 10.1093/cercor/bhk024. Green open access

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Abstract

Psychological frameworks conceptualize emotion along 2 dimensions, "valence" and "arousal." Arousal invokes a single axis of intensity increasing from neutral to maximally arousing. Valence can be described variously as a bipolar continuum, as independent positive and negative dimensions, or as hedonic value (distance from neutral). In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize neural activity correlating with arousal and with distinct models of valence during presentation of affective word stimuli. Our results extend observations in the chemosensory domain suggesting a double dissociation in which subregions of orbitofrontal cortex process valence, whereas amygdala preferentially processes arousal. In addition, our data support the physiological validity of descriptions of valence along independent axes or as absolute distance from neutral but fail to support the validity of descriptions of valence along a bipolar continuum.

Type: Article
Title: Neural correlates of processing valence and arousal in affective words
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/cercor/bhk024
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhk024
Language: English
Keywords: Amygdala, arousal, emotion, fMRI, orbitofrontal cortex, valence
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/5840
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