Repetitive picture processing: autonomic and cortical correlates

Brain Res. 2006 Jan 12;1068(1):213-20. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2005.11.009. Epub 2006 Jan 5.


Emotionally arousing pictures elicit larger late positive potentials (LPPs) than neutral pictures during passive viewing. Moreover, these cortical responses do not rely on voluntary evaluation of the hedonic content and are relatively unaffected by task demands. In this study, we examined modulation of the late positive potential as it varies with stimulus repetition. Three pictures (pleasant, neutral, unpleasant) were presented up to 60 times each. Although the amplitude of the late positive potential during picture viewing declined with stimulus repetition, affective modulation remained intact. On the other hand, autonomic responses (skin conductance and heart rate change) habituated rapidly with stimulus repetition. These findings suggest that while stimulus detection and categorization, reflected in the LPP, is mandatory, autonomic modulation reflects initial orienting responses that habituate rapidly.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Galvanic Skin Response / physiology
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Visual Perception / physiology*