Neurophysiological Correlates of Induced Discrete Emotions in Humans: An Individually Oriented Analysis


Studies on 30 right-handed subjects addressed EEG characteristics (62 channels) in conditions of laboratory simulation of induced emotions of happiness, joy, anger, disgust, fear/anxiety, and sadness. Induced emotions were found to produce, along with common features, individual patterns in the distribution of amplitude-frequency EEG characteristics. Induced positive and negative discrete emotions were characterized by interhemisphere activatory asymmetry in the theta-2 (4–6 Hz), alpha-2 (10–12 Hz), and beta-1 (12–18 Hz) ranges. Experience of the emotions of joy, anger, and disgust occurred on the background of asymmetrical increases in activity in the anterior cortex of the left hemisphere in the theta-2 range, suggesting a leading role for the activity of these areas in realizing the cognitive components of emotional reacting. In addition, some high-ergicity negative emotions evoked combined alpha-2 and beta-1 desynchronization (disgust) or beta-1 desynchronization (fear/anxiety) in the right parietal-temporal cortex, suggesting its involvement in the mechanisms of non-specific emotional activation. These data provide evidence that each of these emotions is characterized by its own individual pattern in the distribution of the amplitude-frequency characteristics of the EEG and, on the other hand, that series of ranges and cortical areas show similar but different (in terms of intensity) effects in response to emotional activation for emotions of different flavor.

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Translated from Rossiiskii Fiziologicheskii Zhurnal imeni I. M. Sechenova, Vol. 90, No. 12, pp. 1457–1471, December, 2004.

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Aftanas, L.I., Reva, N.V., Savotina, L.N. et al. Neurophysiological Correlates of Induced Discrete Emotions in Humans: An Individually Oriented Analysis. Neurosci Behav Physiol 36, 119–130 (2006).

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Key words

  • EEG
  • discrete emotion
  • theta-2
  • alpha-2
  • and beta-1 ranges
  • interhemisphere activatory asymmetry