When does size not matter? Effects of stimulus size on affective modulation

Psychophysiology. 2006 Mar;43(2):207-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00392.x.


Motivationally relevant stimuli have been shown to receive prioritized processing compared to neutral stimuli at distinct processing stages. This effect has been related to the evolutionary importance of rapidly detecting dangers and potential rewards and has been shown to be modulated by the distance between an organism and a faced stimulus. Similarly, recent studies showed degrees of emotional modulation of autonomic responses and subjective arousal ratings depending on stimulus size. In the present study, affective modulation of pictures presented in different sizes was investigated by measuring event-related potentials during a two-choice categorization task. Results showed significant emotional modulation across all sizes at both earlier and later stages of processing. Moreover, affective modulation of earlier processes was reduced in smaller compared to larger sizes, whereas no changes in affective modulation were observed at later stages.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Attention / physiology
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology