Electroencephalographic responses to photographs: A case study of three women with distinct adult attachment interview classifications

Kazuko Y. Behrens, Yingli Li, Naomi I.Gribneau Bahm, Michael W. O'Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This preliminary study explored whether neurophysiological responses to visual stimuli, including attachment-related pictures, differed based on attachment status. Along with self-reported valence ratings and reaction times, recorded electroencephalographic (EEG) responses to a total of 100 images, 25 each of Positive, Negative, Neutral, and Personal (each participant's parents and child), were analyzed within and among three mothers with three attachment statuses (Dismissing, Preoccupied, and Secure), as judged by the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI). All three mothers gave their highest pleasantness ratings for Personal photographs. However, differences emerged when cross-region Alpha2 activation patterns in response to each picture type were compared amongst attachment categories. Alpha2 activation recorded during viewing of the participants' children's photographs was similar to viewing Negative pictures for mothers with insecure (Dismissing and Preoccupied) status; whereas the Alpha2 activation of the mother with Secure status towards photographs of her child was similar to Positive pictures. Different patterns of hemispheric asymmetry in Beta1 frequency when processing different picture types were also found. The mother with Dismissing status showed significantly stronger left-hemisphere Beta1 activation across all image types. The Preoccupied mother showed significantly stronger right-hemisphere Beta1 activation for all but the Neutral images, during which activation did not differ between the two hemispheres. The mother with Secure status showed significantly stronger Beta1 activation in the left hemisphere for all but parental Personal photos, during which activation did not differ between the two hemispheres. Implications from the current findings and future research possibilities are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1010
Number of pages18
JournalPsychological reports
Volume108
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

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