A Framework Combining Delta Event-Related Oscillations (EROs) and Synchronisation Effects (ERD/ERS) to Study Emotional Processing
The amount of literature investigating the neuronal mechanisms involved in emotional processing has been growing recently. This has been partly due to the availability of standardized databases like the International Affective Pictures System (IAPS), with pictures of emotional content. Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) or Event-Related Oscillations (EROs) have been widely used to this end, mainly on the theta and gamma frequency bands. However, the role of the slow (delta) waves has been largely ignored. The aim of this study is to provide a framework that combines EROs with Event Related Desynchronization (ERD) / Event Related Synchronization (ERS) and peak amplitude analysis of delta activity, evoked by the passive viewing of emotionally evocative pictures. Results showed that this kind of approach is sensitive to the effects of gender, valence and arousal, as well as, the study of inter-hemispherical disparity, as the two brain hemispheres interplay roles in the detailed discrimination of gender. Valence effects are recovered in both the central electrodes as well as in the hemisphere interactions. These findings suggest that the temporal patterns of delta activity and the alterations of delta energy may contribute to the study of emotional processing. Finally the results depict the improved sensitivity of the proposed framework in comparison to the traditional ERP techniques, thereby delineating the need for further development of new methodologies to study slow brain frequencies.
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