Scientific article
Open access

Emotional attention for erotic stimuli: Cognitive and brain mechanisms

Published inJournal of comparative neurology, vol. 524, no. 8, p. 1668-1675
Publication date2016

It has long been posited that among emotional stimuli, only negative threatening information modulates early shifts of attention. However, in the last few decades there has been an increase in research showing that attention is also involuntarily oriented toward positive rewarding stimuli such as babies, food, and erotic information. Because reproduction-related stimuli have some of the largest effects among positive stimuli on emotional attention, the present work reviews recent literature and proposes that the cognitive and cerebral mechanisms underlying the involuntarily attentional orientation toward threat-related information are also sensitive to erotic information. More specifically, the recent research suggests that both types of information involuntarily orient attention due to their concern relevance and that the amygdala plays an important role in detecting concern-relevant stimuli, thereby enhancing perceptual processing and influencing emotional attentional processes. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:1668–1675, 2016.

  • Erotic information
  • Selective attention
  • Motivational relevance
  • Amygdala
  • Reward
Citation (ISO format)
SENNWALD, Vanessa et al. Emotional attention for erotic stimuli: Cognitive and brain mechanisms. In: Journal of comparative neurology, 2016, vol. 524, n° 8, p. 1668–1675. doi: 10.1002/cne.23859
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0021-9967

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