Emotional Expectancy: Brain Electrical Activity Associated with an Emotional Bias in Interpreting Life Events

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Depression, Semantic cognition, Expectancy, N400, P300

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University students in either an optimistic or pessimistic mood state read brief stories of daily life events as event‐related brain potentials were collected during the final word of each story. For subjects in a pessimistic mood, a bias to expect negative outcomes was seen as an N400/P300 effect over posterior scalp regions. For subjects in an optimistic mood, a differentiation between good and bad outcomes was also observed, but it was specific to medial frontal areas. Analysis of single‐trial P300 latencies suggested that semantically incongruent and mood‐incongruent outcome words resulted in increased median latency of the late positive complex (LPC) and resulted in increased variability of LPC latency across trials.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Psychophysiology, v. 33, issue 3, p. 218-233