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Decoding subjective emotional arousal from EEG during an immersive Virtual Reality experience

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Hofmann,  Simon
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Klotzsche,  Felix
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MindBrainBody Institute, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

Mariola,  Alberto
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Sussex Neuroscience, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom;
Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom;

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Nikulin,  Vadim V.
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MindBrainBody Institute, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Gaebler,  Michael
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
MindBrainBody Institute, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Citation

Hofmann, S., Klotzsche, F., Mariola, A., Nikulin, V. V., Villringer, A., & Gaebler, M. (2020). Decoding subjective emotional arousal from EEG during an immersive Virtual Reality experience. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2020.10.24.353722.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-B319-2
Abstract
Immersive virtual reality (VR) enables naturalistic neuroscientific studies while maintaining experimental control, but dynamic and interactive stimuli pose methodological challenges. We here probed the link between emotional arousal, a fundamental property of affective experience, and parieto-occipital alpha power under naturalistic stimulation:37 young healthy adults completed an immersive VR experience, which included rollercoaster rides, while their EEG was recorded. They then continuously rated their subjective emotional arousal while viewing a replay of their experience. The association between emotional arousal and parieto-occipital alpha power was tested and confirmed by (1) decomposing the continuous EEG signal while maximizing the comodulation between alpha power and arousal ratings and by (2) decoding periods of high and low arousal with discriminative common spatial patterns and a Long Short-Term Memory recurrent neural network.We successfully combine EEG and a naturalistic immersive VR experience to extend previous findings on the neurophysiology of emotional arousal towards real-world neuroscience.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.