Heritability of the neural response to emotional pictures: evidence from ERPs in an adult twin sample

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


Affect-modulated event-related potentials (ERPs) are increasingly used to study psychopathology and individual differences in emotion processing. Many have suggested that variation in these neural responses reflects genetically mediated risk. However, to date, no studies have demonstrated genetic contributions to affect-modulated ERPs. The present study therefore sought to examine the heritability of a range of ERPs elicited during affective picture viewing. One hundred and thirty monozygotic and 124 dizygotic twin pairs passively viewed 30 pleasant, 30 neutral and 30 unpleasant images for 6 s each. The early posterior negativity was scored for each subject; in addition, the P300/late positive potential (LPP) was scored in multiple time windows and sites. Results indicate that the centro-parietal P300 (occurring between 300 and 600 ms) is subject to substantial genetic contributions. Furthermore, variance in the P300 elicited by affective stimuli was moderately heritable even after controlling for the P300 elicited by neutral stimuli. Later and more frontal activation (i.e. between 1000 and 3000 ms) also showed evidence of heritablity. Early parietal, and perhaps later frontal portions of the P300/LPP complex, may therefore represent promising neurobehavioral markers of genetically influenced processing of emotional information.

    loading  Loading Related Articles