Mareike Bayer, Werner Sommer and Annekathrin Schacht

P1 and beyond: Functional separation of multiple emotion effects in word recognition.


Event‐related potentials (ERPs) revealed effects of emotional meaning on word recognition at distinguishable processing stages, in rare cases even in the P1 time range. However, the boundary conditions of these effects, such as the roles of different levels of linguistic processing or the relative contributions of the emotional valence and arousal dimensions, remain to be fully understood. The present study addresses this issue by employing two tasks of different processing demands on words that orthogonally varied in their emotional valence and arousal. Effects of emotional valence in ERPs were evident from 100 ms after word onset and showed a task-insensitive processing advantage for positive words. Early posterior negativity (EPN) effects to high-arousing words were limited to the lexical decision task, corroborating recent reports that suggested that perceptual processing as reflected in the EPN might not be as automatic as previously assumed.