Universiteit Leiden

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Impacts of Associated and Inherent Motivational Salience on Visual Sensory Processing

  • Annekathrin Schacht
Wednesday 17 May 2017
Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials (ERPs)

Stimuli of emotional content have an undeniable processing advantage over neutral stimuli, discernible both at behavioral level and in emotion-related modulations of several components of event-related potentials (ERPs). Recently, it has been proposed that also inherently neutral stimuli might gain salience through associative learning mechanisms. In this talk, I will present a series of ERP studies that investigated whether acquired salience leads to processing advantages similar to inherent emotional salience. To this aim, associative learning paradigms were applied to stimuli of different domains, ranging from meaningless symbols to linguistic and face stimuli. Together, these studies indicate that emotional salience associated to inherently neutral stimuli can sharpen sensory encoding, reflected in amplifications of early ERP components (C1, P1), but does not obligatorily lead to preferential processing at later stages.


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