Emotionally arousing stimuli compete for attention with left hemispace

Kaisa M. Hartikainen, Keith H. Ogawa, Maryam Soltani, Robert T. Knight
2007 NeuroReport  
Rapid interaction of the emotional and attentional networks is critical for adaptive behavior. Here, we examined the e¡ects of emotional stimulation on hemi¢eld attention allocation using event-related potential and behavioral measures. Participants performed a visual-discrimination task on nonemotional targets presented randomly in the left or right hemi¢eld. A brief taskirrelevant emotional (pleasant or unpleasant; 150 -ms duration) or neutral picture was presented centrally 350 ms before the
more » ... next target (150 -ms duration). Unpleasant stimuli interfered with the left visual ¢eld attention capacity, slowing behavioral responses to attended left ¢eld stimuli. In keeping with the behavioral data, event-related potential responses to nonemotional attended left ¢eld stimuli were reduced over the right parietal regions when preceded by an unpleasant event. The results provide electrophysiological and behavioral evidence that unpleasant, emotionally arousing stimuli interfere with the right hemisphere-dependent attention capacity.
doi:10.1097/wnr.0b013e3282f1ca18 pmid:18007189 fatcat:dbollicemfcljdjjcf3udwwuga