Human emotion and its electrophysiological correlates are still poorly understood. The present study examined whether the valence of perceived emotions would differentially influence EEG power spectra and heart rate (HR). Pleasant and unpleasant emotions were induced by consonant and dissonant music. Unpleasant (compared to pleasant) music evoked a significant decrease of HR, replicating the pattern of HR responses previously described for the processing of emotional pictures, sounds, and films. In the EEG, pleasant (contrasted to unpleasant) music was associated with an increase of frontal midline (Fm) theta power. This effect is taken to reflect emotional processing in close interaction with attentional functions. These findings show that Fm theta is modulated by emotion more strongly than previously believed.
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