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Defensive engagement and perceptual enhancement

Keil, Andreas, Bradley, Margaret M., Ihssen, Niklas, Heim, Sabine, Vila, Jaime, Guerra, Pedro and Lang, Peter J. 2010. Defensive engagement and perceptual enhancement. Neuropsychologia 48 (12) , pp. 3580-3584. 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2010.08.007

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We tested whether visual cortical sensitivity to external cues in the context of an acute defensive reaction is heightened or attenuated. A strong cardiac defense (fear) response was elicited by presenting an abrupt, loud acoustic stimulus following a 10-min period of quiescence. Electrocortical responses to aversive and neutral pictures following defensive stimulus onset were measured using dense-array EEG. Pictures were flickered at 12.5 Hz to evoke steady-state visual evoked potentials (ssVEP), which can be reliably extracted on the basis of single trials. Visual cortical activity indexing perceptual processing was substantially heightened when pictures were shown in temporal proximity to (i.e., 5 s after) the defense stimulus. Replicating previous studies, aversive visual stimuli were associated with enhanced ssVEP amplitude, compared to neutral stimuli. Acute defense facilitates visual perception of external cues and preserves accurate discrimination between threatening and safe cues.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human; Dense-array EEG; Cardiac defense; Emotion; Steady-state potential
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0028-3932
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 02:32

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