ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (9): 933-943.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00933

• Reports of Empirical Studies •     Next Articles

Evidence for neural re-use hypothesis from the processing of Chinese emotional words

SUN Tianyi1, HAO Xiaoxiao2, HE Anming1, WANG Caiyu1, XU Yuanli1, GUO Chunyan3, ZHOU Wei3()   

  1. 1School of Education Science, Xinyang Normal University, Xinyang 464000, China
    2Zhengzhou Institute of Technology, Zhengzhou 451100, China
    3School of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
  • Received:2019-10-17 Published:2021-09-25 Online:2021-07-22
  • Contact: ZHOU Wei
  • Supported by:
    science and technology development program of Henan Province(202400410143);“Nanhu Scholar Award Program” youth program of Xinyang Normal University


The neural re-use hypothesis postulates that the emotional effects of words can be produced without semantic formation, which is more helpful for human adaptation to the environment. To test this hypothesis, electroencephalogram (EEG) and behavioral experiments were designed to record the processing characteristics of negative and neutral Chinese words. The results showed that ERPs of disgust words were dissociated from neutral words at about 170ms. The EPN which was associated with visual attention of emotional stimulus appeared in the occipital region. The N400 difference between disgust and neutral words originated in the insula. The maximum activation point time window started at 380 ms. These results indicate that the emotional effect appears before the semantic analysis of emotional words, which supports the neural re-use hypothesis.

Key words: words, disgust, neural re-use hypothesis, ERP