Does Social Content Influence the Subjective Evaluation of Affective Pictures?
This study explored the effect of the perceived social content of affective pictures on the subjective evaluation of affective valence and arousal. For this purpose, we established three categories of social content (pictures without people, with one person and with two or more people). A sample of 161 subjects rated 200 pictures varying in affective valence (unpleasant, neutral, and pleasant), arousal and social content. Results of two-factor analysis of variance, F(4, 157) = 71.7, p < .001, ηp2 = .31, showed that perceived social content influenced the ratings of affective valence, specially for unpleasant pictures, with the greatest social content (two or more people) leading subjects to rate unpleasant pictures with the lowest ratings (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .001). Regarding arousal, F(4, 157) = 64.0, p < .001, ηp2 = .29), the higher the social content, the higher the arousal ratings, but only for pleasant (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .007) and unpleasant (all pairwise comparisons’ p < .001) pictures. Overall, this study demonstrated an effect of the perceived social content on the subjective evaluation of affective valence and arousal of emotional stimuli.
The pattern of cortical functional connectivity in the source space was studied in a group of right handed adult participants (N = 44:17 women, 27 men, aged M = 29.61 ± 6.45 years). Participants retained the traces of realistic pictures of positive, neutral, and negative emotional valences in their working memory (WM) while performing the samedifferent task. Within the framework of this task, participants had to compare the initial picture against a target picture that followed after a specified delay. The coherence (COH) between the pairs of cortical sources chosen in advance according to fMRI data was estimated in the theta frequency range for the period preceding the initial stimulus, during the retention of the initial stimulus in WM, and during the rest interval between successive trials. Two distinct sets of functional links were found. The links of the first type that presumably reflected the involvement of sustained attention were between the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, the prefrontal areas, and temporal areas of the right hemispheres. When compared to the rest period, the links of this type showed strengthening not only during the retention period but also during the period preceding the initial picture. The links of the second type presumably reflected a progressive neocortextohippocampus functional integration with increasing memory load and strength ened exclusively during the retention period. These links were between the parietal, temporal and prefrontal cortices in the lateral surface of both hemispheres with the additional inclusion of the posterior cingulate cortex and the medial parietal cortex in the left hemisphere. The impact of emotional valence on the strength and topography of the functional links of the second type was found. In the left hemisphere, the increase of strength of cortical interaction was more pronounced for the pictures of positive valence than for the pictures of either neutral or negative valences. When compared to the pictures of neutral valence, the retention of pictorial information of both positive and negative valence showed some extraneous integration of the cortical areas for the theta rhythm. This finding might be related to the additional load exerted by emotionally colored pictures onto the mechanisms of shorttime retention of visual information.
Activation of the limbic structures, and above all the amygdala, is believed to be evidence of a subjective emotional experience. However, a recent paper published by Boubela and colleagues (Boubela et al, 2015) discredits most of the fMRI research concerning BOLD-signal changes in the amygdala region. It was revealed that the BOLD signal increase during perception of affective stimuli might take its origin not from the grey matter itself, but from a large vessel situated near the amygdala: the basal vein of Rothental. In the present research, we attempted to estimate the contribution of veins and venules located near amygdala into BOLD signal changes from the region of interest. We found no systematic increase of BOLD signal in the group of veins within the region of interest in comparison with the BOLD signal in the actual gray matter of the amygdala. At the same time, correlations were found between the BOLD signal in the vessels and the gray matter. The obtained results allow us to interpret the BOLD signal from veins and venules in the region of interest as non systematic noise capable of masking or weakening the observed experimental effects. The method used in this work can be recommended for further fMRI studies of the amygdala.
Neuroimaging research in emotion regulation reveals a decrease of amygdala response to affective stimuli when the stimuli are perceived during the performance of a cognitive task. Two types of tasks are usually used to investigate this effect: one distracts attention from the emotional content of stimuli and another directly addresses the emotional content, such as identification of the emotional facial expression. The present fMRI study tested the effect of a third type of task: a memory task that promotes attraction of one’s attention to the emotional stimuli, but does not directly address the emotional content. A total of 44 volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In the MRI scanner, participants in the experimental group were asked to memorize emotional and neutral images taken from the IAPS (International Affective Picture System) database. Their recognition memory was subsequently tested after the scanning. Participants in the control group passively viewed the same picture set. The ROI analysis of the BOLD signal change revealed a leftward asymmetry of amygdala activation during the passive viewing of the pictures and a rightward shift of activation induced by the memory task. Results from the control ROIs demonstrated the phenomena of “inattentional deafness” in the auditory cortex and functional asymmetry in the visual cortex. The results are discussed in terms of complex functional connections between the amygdala, sensory cortices, and frontal regions of the brain.
The influence of emotional valence (positive, negative or neutral) of realistic images on the functioning of visual working memory (WM) was studied in adults (n= 40) and adolescents (n = 17). In adults, emotional coloring of stimuli increased the reaction time and decreased the accuracy of WM task performance. This effect was more pronounced for negative than for positive valence: the minimal reaction time was observed for the neutral stimuli, the maximal for the negative emotional stimuli, and significant differences in the reaction time were found between all three types of images. The accuracy was lower for negative stimuli than for either positive or neutral stimuli. Compared with adults, adolescents of age 14–16 showed lower indices of the performance accuracy and rate with neutral and positive stimuli in the WM task. In this group, no significant influence of the emotional valence of visual stimuli on the accuracy of WM task performance was found.
This paper explores in more detail the phenomenon of deactivation of the auditory cortex evoked by the presentation of the affective pictures that we accidentally found in one of our recent studies (Litvinova et al., 2016). Data from two previous studies employing affective pictures (Litvinova et al., 2016 and Rozovskaya et al., 2014, 2016) were re-analyzed and demonstrated a similar pattern of results. Emotionally negative scenes elicited significant deactivation in the auditory cortex in passive viewing and during encoding of pictures into memory. Emotional valence (positive, negative or neutral) significantly affected BOLD signal change in the auditory cortex under conditions of passive viewing (with the most pronounced deactivation evoked by mutilation pictures), but not in the memory task condition. However, mere presentation of an affective picture is not enough to induce deactivation in the auditory cortex. Unlike encoding, retrieval of the affective pictures from working memory evokes a significant positive BOLD response. A pronounced leftward hemispheric asymmetry of this response suggests that it may reflect a role of verbal processes in the retrieval of information from the working memory. Overall, our results suggest that the observed phenomenon may reflect a neural signature of inattentional deafness (ID): a failure to perceive auditory stimuli which manifests under high visual perceptual load. Therefore, we predict that passive viewing and memorization of negative affective pictures, but not their retrieval from WM, would be accompanied by the ID effect at the behavioral level.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.