Emotions characterized by opposite valences (positive vs. negative) seem to lead to specific patterns of autonomic and cortical activity. For example, according to valence or approach-withdrawal hypotheses, specific emotions lead to an asymmetrical activation of left or right prefrontal cortex (PFC). The aim of the present study was to explore the psychophysiological underpinnings of emotion experiencing using a paradigm with higher ecological validity than is typically accomplished in neuroimaging research. A total of 28 healthy participants were instructed to recall personally-relevant situations from the past that caused positive (happiness) or negative (anger) emotions, during a 2 min silent preparatory phase and a subsequent 3 min verbal phase. A wearable electrocardiographic (ECG) recording system and a portable 2-channel near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device were used to collect heart rate (HR), high frequencies of heart rate variability (HF-HRV), and the hemodynamic responses of prefrontal cortex during the entire procedure. Results showed that during both anger and happiness recall tasks, HR increased and high frequencies of HRV decreased with respect to the baseline. HR and HF-HRV reached, respectively, their highest and lowest points during the verbal phase of anger recall task. NIRS data evidenced a bilateral increase of oxyhemoglobin concentration changes during both anger and happiness recall tasks, which was highest during the verbal phases. However, no lateralization patterns were found. Overall, present results suggest that the experience of negative emotions, if compared with positive ones, is characterized by a combination of reduced parasympathetic activation and/or increased sympathetic activation. Thus, cardiological data provided partial support to autonomic specificity of emotions. However, the recall paradigm did not evidence an asymmetry of PFC activity during the experience of emotions with opposite valences, probably due to the high number of factors impacting prefrontal activity during a recall paradigm.

(2018). Cortical and Autonomic Patterns of Emotion Experiencing During a Recall Task [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/79174

Cortical and Autonomic Patterns of Emotion Experiencing During a Recall Task

BRUGNERA, Agostino;ADORNI, Roberta;ZARBO, Cristina;COMPARE, Angelo;
2018

Abstract

Emotions characterized by opposite valences (positive vs. negative) seem to lead to specific patterns of autonomic and cortical activity. For example, according to valence or approach-withdrawal hypotheses, specific emotions lead to an asymmetrical activation of left or right prefrontal cortex (PFC). The aim of the present study was to explore the psychophysiological underpinnings of emotion experiencing using a paradigm with higher ecological validity than is typically accomplished in neuroimaging research. A total of 28 healthy participants were instructed to recall personally-relevant situations from the past that caused positive (happiness) or negative (anger) emotions, during a 2 min silent preparatory phase and a subsequent 3 min verbal phase. A wearable electrocardiographic (ECG) recording system and a portable 2-channel near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) device were used to collect heart rate (HR), high frequencies of heart rate variability (HF-HRV), and the hemodynamic responses of prefrontal cortex during the entire procedure. Results showed that during both anger and happiness recall tasks, HR increased and high frequencies of HRV decreased with respect to the baseline. HR and HF-HRV reached, respectively, their highest and lowest points during the verbal phase of anger recall task. NIRS data evidenced a bilateral increase of oxyhemoglobin concentration changes during both anger and happiness recall tasks, which was highest during the verbal phases. However, no lateralization patterns were found. Overall, present results suggest that the experience of negative emotions, if compared with positive ones, is characterized by a combination of reduced parasympathetic activation and/or increased sympathetic activation. Thus, cardiological data provided partial support to autonomic specificity of emotions. However, the recall paradigm did not evidence an asymmetry of PFC activity during the experience of emotions with opposite valences, probably due to the high number of factors impacting prefrontal activity during a recall paradigm.
articolo
Brugnera, Agostino; Adorni, Roberta; Zarbo, Cristina; Compare, Angelo; Sakatani, Kaoru
(2018). Cortical and Autonomic Patterns of Emotion Experiencing During a Recall Task [journal article - articolo]. In JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10446/79174
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