A1 Journal article – refereed

Additive effects of affective arousal and top-down attention on the event-related brain responses to human bodies

List of Authors: Hietanen JK, Kirjavainen I, Nummenmaa L

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication year: 2014

Journal: Biological Psychology

Volume number: 103

Number of pages: 9

ISSN: 0301-0511

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.09.003

URL: http://ac.els-cdn.com/S030105111400204X/1-s2.0-S030105111400204X-main.pdf?_tid=6a3588be-ad44-11e4-88a4-00000aacb35d∿nat=1423147188_3cb7b2da3e9ade00f5fa225d3d1de6cd


The early visual event-related ‘N170 response’ is sensitive to human body configuration and it is enhanced to nude versus clothed bodies. We tested whether the N170 response as well as later EPN and P3/LPP responses to nude bodies reflect the effect of increased arousal elicited by these stimuli, or top-down allocation of object-based attention to the nude bodies. Participants saw pictures of clothed and nude bodies and faces. In each block, participants were asked to direct their attention towards stimuli from a specified target category while ignoring others. Object-based attention did not modulate the N170 amplitudes towards attended stimuli; instead N170 response was larger to nude bodies compared to stimuli from other categories. Top-down attention and affective arousal had additive effects on the EPN and P3/LPP responses reflecting later processing stages. We conclude that nude human bodies have a privileged status in the visual processing system due to the affective arousal they trigger.

Last updated on 2021-24-06 at 11:18