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Effective connectivity during visual processing is affected by emotional state.

Research paper by Miroslaw M Wyczesany, Tomasz S TS Ligeza, Szczepan J SJ Grzybowski

Indexed on: 24 Oct '14Published on: 24 Oct '14Published in: Brain Imaging and Behavior



Abstract

The limitations of our cognitive resources necessitate the selection of relevant information from the incoming visual stream. This selection and prioritizing of stimuli allows the organism to adapt to the current conditions. However, the characteristics of this process vary with time and depend on numerous external and internal factors. The present study was aimed at determining how the emotional state affects effective connectivity between visual, attentional and control brain areas during the perception of affective visual stimuli. The Directed Transfer Function was applied on a 32-electrode EEG recording to quantify the direction and intensity of the information flow during two sessions: positive and negative. These data were correlated with a self-report of the emotional state. We demonstrated that the current mood, as measured by self-report, is a factor which affects the patterns of effective cortical connectivity. An increase in prefrontal top-down control over the visual and attentional areas was revealed in a state of tension. It was accompanied by increased outflow within and from the areas recognized as the ventral attentional network. By contrast, a positive emotional state was associated with heightened flow from the parietal to the occipital area. The functional significance of the revealed effects is discussed.