Electrophysiological correlates of the disrupted processing of anger in alcoholism.

Authors:
Pierre Maurage
Pierre Maurage
Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology
Salvatore Campanella
Salvatore Campanella
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Belgium
Pierre Philippot
Pierre Philippot
Laboratory for Experimental Psychopathology
Nicolas Vermeulen
Nicolas Vermeulen
Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL)
Belgium
Eric Constant
Eric Constant
Université Catholique de Louvain
Belgium
Olivier Luminet
Olivier Luminet
Université catholique de Louvain
Belgium
Philippe de Timary
Philippe de Timary
University of Louvain Brussels
Belgium

Int J Psychophysiol 2008 Oct 22;70(1):50-62. Epub 2008 May 22.

Catholic University of Louvain, 10 Place C. Mercier, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Objective: Recent studies have shown that alcoholism is characterized by a deficit in the processing of emotional facial expressions (EFE), and that this deficit could be "emotion specific". The present study explored the hypothesis that there is a specific deficit for the EFE of anger compared to another negative emotion (disgust). Moreover, on the basis of event-related potentials (ERPs), this study aimed at determining the locus of this deficit in the information-processing stream.

Methods: Fifteen patients suffering from alcoholism and fifteen matched healthy controls took part in the study, which used a "modified emotional" oddball paradigm. ERPs were recorded in response to repetitions of a particular facial expression (i.e. anger) and in response to two deviant (rare) stimuli obtained by a morphing procedure, one depicting the same emotion as the frequent stimulus, the other depicting a different emotion (i.e. disgust). The participants' task was to press a key as soon as they spotted the deviant stimulus.

Results: Behavioural data showed an absence of categorical perception effect for anger (but not for disgust) stimuli among alcoholic patients. Moreover, electrophysiological data revealed that alcoholism is associated with an impaired processing of anger at the attentional level (N2b/P3a complex), extending to the decisional level (P3b).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated disturbed processing of anger in alcoholism, at behavioural and electrophysiological levels. These preliminary results strengthen the proposition of a specific deficit for anger, and localize its possible origin to the attentional level (N2b/P3a complex) of the information processing stream. The clinical implications of these results are discussed.

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2008.05.572DOI Listing
October 2008
7 Reads

Publication Analysis

Top Keywords

processing anger
12
n2b/p3a complex
8
anger alcoholism
8
level n2b/p3a
8
attentional level
8
depicting emotion
8
emotion disgust
8
specific deficit
8
anger
7
processing
5
alcoholism
5
deficit
5
disgust participants'
4
participants' task
4
task press
4
stimulus depicting
4
absence categorical
4
emotion frequent
4
frequent stimulus
4
press key
4

Similar Publications

Categorical perception of anger and disgust facial expression is affected by non-clinical social anxiety: an ERP study.

Brain Res 2007 Feb 20;1132(1):166-76. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve, Cognitive Neuroscience Unit (NESC), Belgium.

Anxiety has been associated with a bias for interpreting threatening information. Faces expressing anger seem to be more easily detected by socially anxious individuals than by non-anxious individuals. Similarly, disgust on a face may also reflect a negative social judgment. Read More

View Article
February 2007

The crossmodal facilitation effect is disrupted in alcoholism: a study with emotional stimuli.

Alcohol Alcohol 2007 Nov-Dec;42(6):552-9. Epub 2007 Sep 18.

Université Catholique de Louvain, Faculté de Psychologie, Unité NESC, Place du Cardinal Mercier, 10, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Aims: Chronic alcoholism is classically associated with major deficits in the visual and auditory processing of emotions. However, the crossmodal (auditory-visual) processing of emotional stimuli, which occurs most frequently in everyday life, has not yet been explored. The aim of this study was to explore crossmodal processing in alcoholism, and specifically the auditory-visual facilitation effect. Read More

View Article
January 2008

Discrimination of emotional facial expressions in a visual oddball task: an ERP study.

Biol Psychol 2002 May;59(3):171-86

Unité de Neurosciences Cognitives (NESC), Faculte de Psychologie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Place du Cardinal Mercier 10, B-1348, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Several ERP studies have shown an orienting complex, the N2/P3a, associated to the detection of stimulus novelty. Its role consists in preparing the organism to process and react to biologically prepotent stimuli. Whether this N2/P3a: (1) could be obtained with complex visual stimuli, such as with emotional facial expressions; and (2) could take part in a complex discrimination process has yet to be determined. Read More

View Article
May 2002

Alcoholism leads to early perceptive alterations, independently of comorbid depressed state: an ERP study.

Neurophysiol Clin 2008 Apr 3;38(2):83-97. Epub 2008 Mar 3.

Unité NESC, Faculté de Psychologie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

Introduction: Alcoholism is associated with a deficit in the processing of emotional facial expressions (EFE) and with a delayed P3b component, partially mediated by earlier perceptive deficits (P100, N170). Since alcohol dependence often occurs with depression, we aim at investigating whether classical event-related potentials (ERP) alterations observed in alcoholism are modulated or not by depression.

Methods: Four groups (controls; alcoholics; depressed; alcoholics-depressed) of 12 participants performed two different discrimination tasks, a gender and an emotional one. Read More

View Article
April 2008