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Journal Articles iScience Year : 2024

Prioritized neural processing of social threats during perceptual decision-making

Abstract

Emotional signals, notably those signaling threat, benefit from prioritized processing in the human brain. Yet, it remains unclear whether perceptual decisions about the emotional, threat-related aspects of stimuli involve specific or similar neural computations compared to decisions about their non-threatening/non-emotional components. We developed a novel behavioral paradigm in which participants performed two different detection tasks (emotion vs. color) on the same, two-dimensional visual stimuli. First, electroencephalographic (EEG) activity in a cluster of central electrodes reflected the amount of perceptual evidence around 100 ms following stimulus onset, when the decision concerned emotion, not color. Second, participants’ choice could be predicted earlier for emotion (240 ms) than for color (380 ms) by the mu (10 Hz) rhythm, which reflects motor preparation. Taken together, these findings indicate that perceptual decisions about threat-signaling dimensions of facial displays are associated with prioritized neural coding in action-related brain regions, supporting the motivational value of socially relevant signals.
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hal-04585787 , version 1 (24-05-2024)

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M. El Zein, Rocco Mennella, M. Sequestro, E. Meaux, V. Wyart, et al.. Prioritized neural processing of social threats during perceptual decision-making. iScience, 2024, 27 (6), pp.109951. ⟨10.1016/j.isci.2024.109951⟩. ⟨hal-04585787⟩
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