In event-related potential (ERPs) studies, emotional stimuli usually elicit an enhanced late positive potential (LPP), which is assumed to reflect motivated attention. However, whether a stimulus elicits emotional responses may depend on the individual's state, such as experiencing romantic love. It has been suggested that stimuli that are related to someone's beloved will elicit increased attention in that infatuated individual. In this study, participants who were in love viewed faces of their beloved, their friend, and of an unknown, beautiful person. The friend was included to control for familiarity, and the unknown person for perceived beauty. As expected, the LPP was larger in response to the face of the beloved than to the other two emotionally significant faces. Interpreting the LPP as reflecting motivated attention, this implies that romantic love is accompanied by increased attention for the face of one's beloved.

, , ,,
Biological Psychology
Department of Psychology

Langeslag, S., Jansma, B., Franken, I., & van Strien, J. (2007). Event-related potential responses to love-related facial stimuli. Biological Psychology, 76(1-2), 109–115. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2007.06.007