We used dense-array event-related potentials (ERP) to examine the time course and neural bases of evaluative processing. Participants made good vs. bad (evaluative) and abstract vs. concrete (nonevaluative) judgments of socially relevant concepts (e.g., "murder," "welfare"), and then rated all concepts for goodness and badness. Results revealed a late positive potential (LPP) beginning at about 475 ms post-stimulus and maximal over anterior sites. The LPP was lateralized (higher amplitude and shorter latency) on the right for concepts later rated bad, and on the left for concepts later rated good. Moreover, the degree of lateralization for the amplitude but not the latency was larger when participants were making evaluative judgments than when they were making nonevaluative judgments. These data are consistent with a model in which discrete regions of prefrontal cortex (PFC) are specialized for the evaluative processing of positive and negative stimuli.
- Hemispheric asymmetry
- Prefrontal cortex