PsychNology Journal, Volume 12, Number 1-2, 29 – 43

Amygdala Activation in Response to 2D and 3D Emotion- Inducing Stimuli

Artemisa R. Dores
Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal
School of Allied Health Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal

Fernando Barbosa
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

Luís Monteiro
Advanced Institute of Health Sciences - North, Portugal

Mafalda Reis
Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal
Service of Computerized Medical Imaging SA, Oporto, Portugal

Carlos M. Coelho
Centro Algoritmi, University of Minho, Portugal

Eduardo Ribeiro
School of Allied Health Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal

Miguel Leitao
Institute of Engineering of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, Portugal

Irene P. Carvalho
School of Medicine University of Porto, Portugal

Liliana de Sousa
Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, Portugal

Alexandre Castro-Caldas
Institute of Health Sciences, Portuguese Catholic University, Portugal


ABSTRACT

Studying changes in brain activation according to the valence of emotion-inducing stimuli is essential in the research on emotions. Due to the ecological potential of virtual reality, it is also important to examine whether brain activation in response to emotional stimuli can be modulated by the three-dimensional (3D) properties of the images. This study uses functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to compare differences between 3D and standard (2D) visual stimuli in the activation of emotion-related brain areas. The stimuli were organized in three virtual-reality scenarios, each with a different emotional valence (pleasant, unpleasant and neutral). The scenarios were presented in a pseudo-randomized order in the two visualization modes to twelve healthy males. Data were analyzed through a GLM-based fixed effects procedure. Unpleasant and neutral stimuli activated the right amygdala more strongly when presented in 3D than in 2D. These results suggest that 3D stimuli, when used as “building blocks” for virtual environments, can induce increased emotional loading, as shown here through neuroimaging.

KEYWORDS: Virtual reality, 3D/2D visual stimuli, valence (pleasant, unpleasant, neutral), amygdala, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI).


CITE AS:
Dores, A. R., Barbosa, F., Monteiro, L., Reis, M., Coelho, C., Ribeiro, E., Leitão, M., Carvalho, I. P., Sousa, L. and Caldas, A.(2014). Amygdala Activation in Response to 2D and 3D Emotion-Inducing Stimuli. PsychNology Journal, 12(1-2), 29 - 43. Retrieved [month] [day], [year], from www.psychnology.org.

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PsychNology Journal Volume 12, Number 1-2