Neural correlates of processing valence and arousal in affective words

P. A. Lewis, H. D. Critchley, P. Rotshtein, R. J. Dolan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Psychological frameworks conceptualize emotion along 2 dimensions, "valence" and "arousal." Arousal invokes a single axis of intensity increasing from neutral to maximally arousing. Valence can be described variously as a bipolar continuum, as independent positive and negative dimensions, or as hedonic value (distance from neutral). In this study, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize neural activity correlating with arousal and with distinct models of valence during presentation of affective word stimuli. Our results extend observations in the chemosensory domain suggesting a double dissociation in which subregions of orbitofrontal cortex process valence, whereas amygdala preferentially processes arousal. In addition, our data support the physiological validity of descriptions of valence along independent axes or as absolute distance from neutral but fail to support the validity of descriptions of valence along a bipolar continuum. © The Author 2006. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)742-748
    Number of pages6
    JournalCerebral Cortex
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


    • Amygdala
    • Arousal
    • Emotion
    • fMRI
    • Orbitofrontal cortex
    • Valence


    Dive into the research topics of 'Neural correlates of processing valence and arousal in affective words'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this