Emotional responses are regulated by basic motivational systems (appetitive and defensive), which allow for adaptive behavior when opportunities and threats are detected. It has been suggested that specific ranges of spatial frequencies of the visual input may contain information that is diagnostic for discriminating emotionally relevant from less relevant contents, and that specialized neural modules may analyze these spatial frequencies to allow efficient detection and response to life-threatening or life-sustaining stimuli. However, there is no evidence supporting this possibility regarding natural scenes, which are highly varied in terms of pictorial composition. The present study examines how low and high spatial frequency filtering affects the understanding of natural scene contents and modulates the amplitude of the late positive potential (LPP), a well-known component of the event-related potentials that reflects motivational significance. The content of an initially degraded (low- or high-passed) picture was progressively revealed in a sequence of steps by adding high or low spatial frequencies. At each step, human participants reported whether they identified the gist of the image. The results showed that the affective modulation of the LPP varied with picture identification similarly for low-passed and high-passed pictures. The engagement of corticolimbic appetitive and defensive systems, reflected in the LPP affective modulation, varied with picture identification, and did not critically or preferentially depend on either low or high spatial frequencies.

Scene identification and emotional response: which spatial frequencies are critical?

DE CESAREI, ANDREA;CODISPOTI, MAURIZIO
2011

Abstract

Emotional responses are regulated by basic motivational systems (appetitive and defensive), which allow for adaptive behavior when opportunities and threats are detected. It has been suggested that specific ranges of spatial frequencies of the visual input may contain information that is diagnostic for discriminating emotionally relevant from less relevant contents, and that specialized neural modules may analyze these spatial frequencies to allow efficient detection and response to life-threatening or life-sustaining stimuli. However, there is no evidence supporting this possibility regarding natural scenes, which are highly varied in terms of pictorial composition. The present study examines how low and high spatial frequency filtering affects the understanding of natural scene contents and modulates the amplitude of the late positive potential (LPP), a well-known component of the event-related potentials that reflects motivational significance. The content of an initially degraded (low- or high-passed) picture was progressively revealed in a sequence of steps by adding high or low spatial frequencies. At each step, human participants reported whether they identified the gist of the image. The results showed that the affective modulation of the LPP varied with picture identification similarly for low-passed and high-passed pictures. The engagement of corticolimbic appetitive and defensive systems, reflected in the LPP affective modulation, varied with picture identification, and did not critically or preferentially depend on either low or high spatial frequencies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/107560
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