Effects of Working Memory Load on Negative Facial Emotion Processing: an ERP study

작업기억 부담이 부적 얼굴정서 처리에 미치는 영향: ERP 연구

  • Park, Taejin (Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University) ;
  • Kim, Junghee (Department of Psychology, Chonnam National University)
  • Received : 2018.03.23
  • Accepted : 2018.03.24
  • Published : 2018.03.30


To elucidate the effect of working memory (WM) load on negative facial emotion processing, we examined ERP components (P1 and N170) elicited by fearful and neutral expressions each of which was presented during 0-back (low-WM load) or 2-back (high-WM load) tasks. During N-back tasks, visual objects were presented one by one as targets and each of facial expressions was presented as a passively observed stimulus during intervals between targets. Behavioral results showed more accurate and fast responses at low-WM load condition compared to high-WM load condition. Analysis of mean amplitudes of P1 on the occipital region showed significant WM load effect (high-WM load > low-WM load) but showed nonsignificant facial emotion effect. Analysis of mean amplitudes of N170 on the posterior occipito-temporal region showed significant overall facial emotion effect (fearful > neutral), but, in detail, significant facial emotion effect was observed only at low-WM load condition on the left hemisphere, but was observed at high-WM load condition as well as low-WM load condition on the right hemisphere. To summarize, facial emotion effect observed by N170 amplitudes was modulated by WM load only on the left hemisphere. These results show that early emotional processing of negative facial expression could be eliminated or reduced by high load of WM on the left hemisphere, but could not be eliminated by high load on the right hemisphere, and suggest right hemispheric lateralization of negative facial emotion processing.


Supported by : 한국연구재단


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