ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2021, Vol. 53 ›› Issue (9): 933-943.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2021.00933

• 研究论文 •    下一篇


孙天义1, 郝晓晓2, 何安明1, 王财玉1, 许远理1, 郭春彦3, 周蔚3()   

  1. 1信阳师范学院教育科学学院, 河南 信阳 464000
    2郑州理工职业学院, 郑州 451100
    3首都师范大学心理学院, 北京 100048
  • 收稿日期:2019-10-17 出版日期:2021-09-25 发布日期:2021-07-22
  • 通讯作者: 周蔚
  • 基金资助:

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
    3College of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing 100048, China
  • Received:2019-10-17 Online:2021-09-25 Published:2021-07-22
  • Contact: ZHOU Wei


神经重用假说认为对词的情绪效应可以不经语义形成而先行产生, 这更有助于人类适应环境。为了检验这一假说, 设计脑电实验和行为实验, 记录被试加工汉语厌恶情绪词和中性词的特征。结果发现, 170 ms左右厌恶词与中性词的ERPs发生分离, 且在枕部出现情绪刺激视觉注意关联的EPN; 厌恶词与中性词N400差异波溯源定位于脑岛附近, 其最大激活点时间窗口开始于380 ms。这表明在情绪词汇的语义分析之前就出现了情绪效应, 结果支持了神经重用假说。

关键词: 词汇, 厌恶, 神经重用假说, ERP


The two main theoretical views of emotional word processing are conflicting. According to standard psycholinguistics, emotions are elicited within the reading network itself after semantic activation. However, neural reuse theories suggest that emotional words can be directly processed by the brain region that is activated in emotional information processing, similar to how emotional images, smell, and faces are processed. This means that emotional effects to words occur before semantics, which benefits human adaptability. The processing of emotional words in phonetic characters supports the view of neural reuse, but the processing of emotional words in ideographic texts has no evidence. An event-related potential experiment and a behavioral experiment were conducted to explore the processing of emotional information while reading at an implicit level.

A total of 262 Chinese words were selected from the Chinese Affective Stimulus System. Among these words, 128 were disgust-related words, 100 were neutral words, and 34 were transportation-related words. We then selected 35 neutral words, 35 disgust-related words, and 24 transportation-related words that were matched on the basis of valence and arousal. Twenty Chinese college students (10 female) participated in the EEG experiment. They were asked to press the response button using their right index finger when the words they read were related to transportation (Go trials). Otherwise, they should not respond (No-go trials). Another 30 healthy individuals (15 female) participated in the behavioral experiment. However, they were asked to silently read the presented words and press the response button using their right index finger only when a given word was not related to transportation (Go trials). Otherwise, they should not respond (No-go trials).

The EEG experiment showed that differences between disgust and neutral words appeared as early as 170 ms after the onset of stimulus. No significant effect of emotion was found on P100 (the early ERP component). However, a significant main effect of emotion was found for the early posterior negativity (EPN). Disgust-related words evoked a larger right EPN than neutral words did. A negative going wave reflecting the processing of meaning was found at approximately 400 ms, and source localization indicated a cortical generator of emotion effect near the left anterior insula. The inhibition response to disgust-related words generated greater late positive component than the response to neutral words. Specifically, disgust-related words evoked a much larger P600 amplitude compared with neutral words. Behavioral experiment results showed a significant difference between the reaction time to disgust-related words and neutral words. Participants responded faster to disgust-related words than to neutral words.

Results indicate that negative emotional words have an advantage in processing over neutral words. Emotional response to negative emotional words occurs before the processing of their semantics. The processing of negative emotional words supports theory of neural reuse. This finding shows that the nervous system is highly flexible and can process information in an appropriate manner according to the needs in an actual situation. Moreover, when processing emotional information, ideographic Chinese emotional words start earlier and activate a wider range of brain regions than phonetic Western emotional words.

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