Emotional processing and the autonomic nervous system: a comprehensive meta-analytic investigation

Emotional processing and the autonomic nervous system: a comprehensive meta-analytic investigation

Abstract

The search for autonomic correlates of emotional processing has been a matter of interest to identify the physiological basis of emotion. Despite an extensive state-of-the-art exploring the correlates of emotion, there is no absolute consensus regarding how the body processes an affective state. In this work, we aimed to aggregate the literature of psychophysiological studies in the context of emotional induction. Two-hundred and ninety-one studies met the inclusion criteria and were quantitatively pooled in random-effects meta-analytic modelling. There was a negligible differentiation between emotional categories. Considerable amount of between-studies’ heterogeneity was found in the meta-analytic aggregation. Self-reported ratings of emotional arousal were found to be associated with specific psychophysiological indices, particularly with the variation of the skin conductance level. Despite this clear association, there is still a considerable amount of unexplained variability that raises the need for more fine-grained analysis to be implemented in future research in this field.

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Pedro Silva Moreira
Researcher

My research interests include the neurobiological mechanisms of decision-making