Neural evidence of effects of emotional valence on word recognition.Int J Psychophysiol. 2005 Sep; 57(3):165-73.IJ
There are no clear reports of electrophysiological evidence of the facilitating effect of negative valence on word recognition. However, behavioral psychological studies have suggested that negative words can be recognized more accurately than positive and neutral words. This study aimed to examine whether, and if so how, the valence of words could influence accuracy and event-related potentials (ERPs) in a recognition task. ERPs were recorded from 20 healthy subjects during performance of a word recognition task. We found a behavioral advantage in discriminability between old and new items for negative words. As for ERPs, the positive-going shift was evident for correct responses to targets in late latency at midline and left centro-parietal sites. Additionally, the magnitude of this component was greatest for negative targets, next for positive targets, and least for neutral targets. The findings offer support for the idea that negative content greatly accelerates recognition memory compared to positive and neutral words.