Spiders leave no one untouched: Spider pictures increase emotional ERPs beyond arousal and valence
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
People with phobias show enhanced amplitudes on emotional event-related potentials (ERPs) to phobic stimuli. Yet, it is unresolved whether there are independent contributions on the emotional ERPs that cannot be explained by ratings of high arousal and negative valence. We recorded ERPs as participants with and without spider phobia viewed spider pictures, highly negative pictures, and neutral pictures. Participants with phobia showed larger amplitudes in the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the early interval of the late positive potential (LPP) to spider than negative pictures. Importantly, participants without phobia also showed larger amplitudes to spider than neutral pictures even though they rated spiders and neutral pictures as equally neutral in valence and equally low in arousal. These findings suggest two effects of spider pictures on attention: One effect of emotion (valence and arousal) that influences only participants with phobia. The other effect influences both participants with and without phobia. We suggest that this is an effect of evolutionary threat. But, because this effect was present in participants with and without phobia, it is unlikely to play a role in the etiology of phobia.
attention; phobia; event-related potentia
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-83562OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-83562DiVA: diva2:576276