Previously reappraised: the lasting effect of description type on picture-elicited electrocortical activity

Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2011 Jun;6(3):348-58. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsq053. Epub 2010 Jun 27.


To examine whether reappraisal modifies responses to subsequent encounters with stimuli, participants viewed neutral and unpleasant pictures that were preceded by negative or neutral descriptions which served as reappraisal frames. A half an hour later, the same pictures were presented, without preceding frames; EEG was recorded and participants rated each picture on arousal and valence. In line with previous work, unpleasant compared to neutral pictures elicited more positive early- (359 ms), mid- (1074 ms) and late-latency (2436 ms) centrally-distributed ERP components. Pictures previously preceded by negative compared to neutral reappraisal frames were rated as more unpleasant and more emotionally arousing; these pictures elicited a larger mid-latency (1074 ms) occipital positivity. Together, the data suggest that reappraisal exerts an enduring effect on both subjective and neural responses to stimuli.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Reaction Time / physiology