Emotional processes have an impact on the anticipation and perception of bodily threat sensations, such as breathlessness. However, little is known about the reverse influence of breathlessness on emotional processes, as well as its modulation by anxiety sensitivity (AS). Here, we investigated by means of visually evoked potentials how the perception versus anticipation of resistive-load-induced breathlessness (RLIB) influences emotional processing. High (HA) and low anxious (LA) participants viewed pictures of positive, neutral, or negative content under conditions of perceived RLIB, anticipated RLIB, or an unloaded baseline. The P2 (230–290 ms) was significantly less positive under perceived RLIB. Furthermore, the early late positive potential (LPP; 300–500 ms) was significantly less positive during both RLIB conditions, as compared to baseline. Overall, the P1 was significantly more positive in HA as compared to LA individuals. Additionally, across conditions, the late LPP (600–1,000 ms) was enhanced for positive and negative pictures as opposed to neutral ones for the LA group. In contrast, for the HA group only, the positive pictures elicited the typical enhanced LPP. Notably, for the HA participants, negative pictures elicited significantly blunted late LPPs during perceived RLIB as compared to anticipated RLIB and baseline. A reversed effect (i.e., more positivity) was observed for LA participants, suggesting motivational priming. Taken together, these results highlight the impact of perceived and anticipated respiratory threat on the neural processing of emotional picture stimuli, as well as its modulation by anxiety sensitivity levels.

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Keywords Affective processing, Anxiety sensitivity, Breathlessness, Resistive load, Respiratory threat
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1111/psyp.12776, hdl.handle.net/1765/108357
Journal Psychophysiology: an international journal
Juravle, G. (Georgiana), Reicherts, P. (Phillipp), Riechmann-Weinstein, M. (Mirjam), Wieser, M.J, & von Leupoldt, A. (Andreas). (2017). Neural responses to affective pictures while anticipating and perceiving respiratory threat. Psychophysiology: an international journal, 54(2), 182–192. doi:10.1111/psyp.12776