Lateralization of directional brain-heart information transfer during visual emotional elicitation

Luca Faes, Riccardo Barbieri, Gaetano Valenza, Alberto Greco, Vincenzo Catrambone, Enzo Pasquale Scilingo

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

16 Citazioni (Scopus)


Previous studies have characterized the physiological interactions between central nervous system (brain) and peripheral cardiovascular system (heart) during affective elicitation in healthy subjects; however, questions related to the directionality of this functional interplay have been gaining less attention from the scientific community. Here, we explore brain-heart interactions during visual emotional elicitation in healthy subjects using measures of Granger causality (GC), a widely used descriptor of causal influences between two dynamical systems. The proposed approach inferences causality between instantaneous cardiovagal dynamics estimated from inhomogeneous point-process models of the heartbeat and high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) dynamics in 22 healthy subjects who underwent pleasant/unpleasant affective elicitation by watching pictures from the International Affective Picture System database. Particularly, we calculated the GC indexes between the EEG spectrogram in the canonical θ-, α-, β-, and γ-bands and both the instantaneous mean heart rate and its continuous parasympathetic modulations (i.e., the instantaneous HF power). Thus we looked for significant statistical differences among GC values estimated during the resting state, neutral elicitation, and pleasant/unpleasant arousing elicitation. As compared with resting state, coupling strength increases significantly in the left hemisphere during positive stimuli and in the right hemisphere during negative stimuli. Our results further reveal a correlation between emotional valence and lateralization of the dynamical information transfer going from brain-to-heart, mainly localized in the prefrontal, somatosensory, and posterior cortexes, and of the information transfer from heart-to-brain, mainly reflected into the fronto-parietal cortex oscillations in the γ-band (30-45 Hz).
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)R25-R38
Numero di pagine14
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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