Slow Brain Potentials, Imagery And Hemispheric Differences

Academic Article


  • On the basis of Lang's (1979) theory of emotional imagery three experiments were conducted to investigate the relationship between slow cortical potentials (SP) and emotional imagery. According to the assumptions of Lang's theory and our model (Rockstroh et al. 1082) of SP-function imagery ability should be related to a person's capacity to generate and suppress preparatory activity in cortical networks “on demand.” In order to test this hypothesis subjects in Experiment I were trained to regulate right- versus left-hemispheric SP-differentiation within an instrumental learning paradigm. Thirty-four subjects were reinforced for achieving maximal SP-differences between electrode locations C3-C4 over a h s interval across I20 trials. Success in the SP-regulation task correlated significantly (r=37) with the capacity for vivid imagery as measured with the Questionnaire for Mental Imagery (QMI). In Experiment II instructions to imagine right- versus left-hand movements were introduced successively over 5 sessions of SP-self-regulation. Imagery clearly modified right- versus left-hand EMGdifferentiation but had no influence on cortical SP-differentiation. Experiment III tested the influence of already achieved SP-regulation at the vertex on the perceived vividness of emotional images introduced after the SP-biofeedback training. Again. clear effects o f imagery content on autonomic variables (HK, SCR) were found. I lowever, SP-amplitude and SP-polarity had n o effect on perceived vividnesh, arousal or emotional content. It may he concluded from the results of Experiment 11 and 111 that SPs either are not the crucial parameter to represent the cortical efferent outflow component of imagery. o r that the dual task of SP-selfregulation and imagery prevented covariations to show up. Experiment I. o n the other hand. points toward a positive relation of imagery-ability a. a trait-variable and brain-self-regulation abilities. © 1988, Informa UK Ltd. All rights reserved.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Birbaumer N; Lang PJ; Cook E; Elbert T; Lutzenberger W; Rockstroh B
  • Start Page

  • 101
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 39
  • Issue

  • 2 --Jan