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Heine A.,Free University of Berlin | Wissmann J.,Free University of Berlin | Tamm S.,Free University of Berlin | De Smedt B.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 5 more authors.
Cortex | Year: 2013

Introduction: The aim of the present study was to probe electrophysiological effects of non-symbolic numerical processing in 20 children with mathematical learning disabilities (mean age=99.2 months) compared to a group of 20 typically developing matched controls (mean age=98.4 months). Methods: EEG data were obtained while children were tested with a standard non-symbolic numerical comparison paradigm that allowed us to investigate the effects of numerical distance manipulations for different set sizes, i.e., the classical subitizing, counting and estimation ranges. Effects of numerical distance manipulations on event-related potential (ERP) amplitudes as well as activation patterns of underlying current sources were analyzed. Results: In typically developing children, the amplitudes of a late parietal positive-going ERP component showed systematic numerical distance effects that did not depend on set size. For the group of children with mathematical learning disabilities, ERP distance effects were found only for stimuli within the subitizing range. Current source density analysis of distance-related group effects suggested that areas in right inferior parietal regions are involved in the generation of the parietal ERP amplitude differences. Conclusion: Our results suggest that right inferior parietal regions are recruited differentially by controls compared to children with mathematical learning disabilities in response to non-symbolic numerical magnitude processing tasks, but only for stimuli with set sizes that exceed the subitizing range. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Westbury C.,University of Alberta | Keith J.,University of Alberta | Briesemeister B.B.,Free University of Berlin | Briesemeister B.B.,Dahlem Institute for Neuroimaging of Emotion DINE | And 5 more authors.
Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology | Year: 2015

Ever since Aristotle discussed the issue in Book II of his Rhetoric, humans have attempted to identify a set of “basic emotion labels”. In this paper we propose an algorithmic method for evaluating sets of basic emotion labels that relies upon computed co-occurrence distances between words in a 12.7-billion-word corpus of unselected text from USENET discussion groups. Our method uses the relationship between human arousal and valence ratings collected for a large list of words, and the co-occurrence similarity between each word and emotion labels. We assess how well the words in each of 12 emotion label sets—proposed by various researchers over the past 118 years—predict the arousal and valence ratings on a test and validation dataset, each consisting of over 5970 items. We also assess how well these emotion labels predict lexical decision residuals (LDRTs), after co-varying out the effects attributable to basic lexical predictors. We then demonstrate a generalization of our method to determine the most predictive “basic” emotion labels from among all of the putative models of basic emotion that we considered. As well as contributing empirical data towards the development of a more rigorous definition of basic emotions, our method makes it possible to derive principled computational estimates of emotionality—specifically, of arousal and valence—for all words in the language. © 2014 The Experimental Psychology Society.


Koelsch S.,Free University of Berlin | Jacobs A.M.,Free University of Berlin | Jacobs A.M.,Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Berlin | Jacobs A.M.,Dahlem Institute For Neuroimaging Of Emotion Dine | And 5 more authors.
Physics of Life Reviews | Year: 2015

Despite an explosion of research in the affective sciences during the last few decades, interdisciplinary theories of human emotions are lacking. Here we present a neurobiological theory of emotions that includes emotions which are uniquely human (such as complex moral emotions), considers the role of language for emotions, advances the understanding of neural correlates of attachment-related emotions, and integrates emotion theories from different disciplines. We propose that four classes of emotions originate from four neuroanatomically distinct cerebral systems. These emotional core systems constitute a quartet of affect systems: the brainstem-, diencephalon-, hippocampus-, and orbitofrontal-centred affect systems. The affect systems were increasingly differentiated during the course of evolution, and each of these systems generates a specific class of affects (e.g., ascending activation, pain/pleasure, attachment-related affects, and moral affects). The affect systems interact with each other, and activity of the affect systems has effects on - and interacts with - biological systems denoted here as emotional effector systems. These effector systems include motor systems (which produce actions, action tendencies, and motoric expression of emotion), peripheral physiological arousal, as well as attentional and memory systems. Activity of affect systems and effector systems is synthesized into an emotion percept (pre-verbal subjective feeling), which can be transformed (or reconfigured) into a symbolic code such as language. Moreover, conscious cognitive appraisal (involving rational thought, logic, and usually language) can regulate, modulate, and partly initiate, activity of affect systems and effector systems. Our emotion theory integrates psychological, neurobiological, sociological, anthropological, and psycholinguistic perspectives on emotions in an interdisciplinary manner, aiming to advance the understanding of human emotions and their neural correlates. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Briesemeister B.B.,Free University of Berlin | Kuchinke L.,Ruhr University Bochum | Jacobs A.M.,Free University of Berlin | Jacobs A.M.,Dahlem Institute For Neuroimaging Of Emotion Dine
Brain Research | Year: 2014

Manipulations of either discrete emotions (e.g. happiness) or affective dimensions (e.g. positivity) have a long tradition in emotion research, but interactive effects have never been studied, based on the assumption that the two underlying theories are incompatible. Recent theorizing suggests, however, that the human brain relies on two affective processing systems, one working on the basis of discrete emotion categories, and the other working along affective dimensions. Presenting participants with an orthogonal manipulation of happiness and positivity in a lexical decision task, the present study meant to test the appropriateness of this assumption in emotion word recognition. Behavioral and electroencephalographic data revealed independent effects for both variables, with happiness affecting the early visual N1 component, while positivity affected an N400-like component and the late positive complex. These results are interpreted as evidence for a sequential processing of affective information, with discrete emotions being the basis for later dimensional appraisal processes. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


Ponz A.,Aix - Marseille University | Montant M.,Aix - Marseille University | Liegeois-Chauvel C.,Aix - Marseille University | Silva C.,Instituto Universitario Of Lisbon | And 7 more authors.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience | Year: 2014

This study investigates the spatiotemporal brain dynamics of emotional information processing during reading using a combination of surface and intracranial electroencephalography (EEG). Two different theoretical views were opposed. According to the standard psycholinguistic perspective, emotional responses to words are generated within the reading network itself subsequent to semantic activation. According to the neural re-use perspective, brain regions that are involved in processing emotional information contained in other stimuli (faces, pictures, smells) might be in charge of the processing of emotional information in words as well. We focused on a specific emotion-disgust-which has a clear locus in the brain, the anterior insula. Surface EEG showed differences between disgust and neutral words as early as 200 ms. Source localization suggested a cortical generator of the emotion effect in the left anterior insula. These findings were corroborated through the intracranial recordings of two epileptic patients with depth electrodes in insular and orbitofrontal areas. Both electrodes showed effects of disgust in reading as early as 200 ms. The early emotion effect in a brain region (insula) that responds to specific emotions in a variety of situations and stimuli clearly challenges classic sequential theories of reading in favor of the neural re-use perspective. © The Author (2013). Published by Oxford University Press.

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