The motivated attention network is believed to be the system that allocates attention toward motivationally relevant, emotional stimuli in order to better prepare an organism for action [Lang, P. J., Bradley, M. M., & Cuthbert, B. N. (1997). Motivated attention: Affect, activation, and action. In P. J. Lang, R. F. Simons, M. Balaban, & R. Simons (Eds.), Attention and orienting: Sensory and motivational processes (pp. 97–135). Psychology Press]. The late positive potential (LPP), an event-related potential (ERP) that is a manifestation of the motivated attention network, has not been found to reliably differentiate the valence of emotionally relevant stimuli. In two studies, we systematically varied epoch, stimulus arousal, stimulus valence, and hemisphere of presentation (Study 2) to investigate valence effects in the LPP. Both central and divided visual field presentations of emotional stimuli found the LPP to be sustained in later windows for high-arousing unpleasant images compared to pleasant images. Further, this effect was driven by sustained LPP responses following left hemisphere presentations of unpleasant stimuli compared to right. Findings are discussed regarding hemispheric processing of emotion and how lateralized emotion processes might contribute to psychopathology.
- Motivated attention
- event-related potentials (ERPs)
- late positive potential (LPP)
- lateral presentation