Stefan Wiens

Stefan Wiens
Stockholm University | SU · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

97
Publications
24,763
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6,222
Citations
Additional affiliations
December 1999 - May 2004
Karolinska University Hospital
Position
  • PostDoc Position
August 1993 - December 1999
Stony Brook University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (97)
Article
The C1 event‐related potential (ERP) captures the earliest stage of feedforward processing in the primary visual cortex (V1). An ongoing debate is whether top‐down selective attention can modulate the C1. One side of the debate pointed out that null findings appear to outnumber positive findings; thus, selective attention does not seem to influence...
Article
Full-text available
Specific phobia can be treated successfully with exposure therapy. Although exposure therapy has strong effects on self-reported ratings and behavioral avoidance, effects on measures derived from electroencephalography (EEG) are scant and unclear. To fill this gap, spider-phobic individuals received either in-vivo or virtual reality exposure treatm...
Article
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Performance in visual serial recall tasks is often impaired by irrelevant auditory distracters. The duplex-mechanism account of auditory distraction states that if the distracters provide order cues, these interfere with the processing of the order cues in the serial recall task (interference by process). In contrast, the unitary account states tha...
Article
Full-text available
Theories disagree as to whether it is the early or the late neural correlate of awareness that plays a critical role in phenomenal awareness. According to recurrent processing theory, early activity in primary sensory areas corresponds closely to phenomenal awareness. In support, research with electroencephalography found that in the visual and som...
Preprint
Performance in visual serial recall tasks is often impaired by irrelevant auditory distracters. The duplex-mechanism account of auditory distraction states that if the distracters provide order cues, these interfere with the processing of the order cues in the serial recall task (interference by process). In contrast, the unitary account states tha...
Article
Full-text available
Ignoring background sounds while focusing on a visual task is a necessary ability in everyday life. If attentional resources are shared between modalities, processing of task-irrelevant auditory information should become attenuated when attentional capacity is expended by visual demands. According to the early-filter model, top-down attenuation of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Theories disagree as to whether it is the early or the late neural correlate of awareness plays a critical role in phenomenal awareness. According to recurrent processing theory, early activity in primary sensory areas should correspond closely to phenomenal awareness. In support, research with electroencephalography found that in vision, an early...
Article
Full-text available
The auditory pathway consists of multiple recurrent loops of afferent and efferent connections that extend from the cochlea up to the prefrontal cortex. The early-filter theory proposes that these loops allow top-down filtering of early and middle latency auditory responses. Furthermore, the adaptive filtering model suggests that the filtering of i...
Article
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Research suggests that the electrophysiological correlates of consciousness are similar in hearing as in vision: the auditory awareness negativity (AAN) and the late positivity (LP). However, from a recently proposed signal-detection perspective, these correlates may be confounded by performance , as the strength of the internal responses differs b...
Article
Full-text available
In hearing, two neural correlates of awareness are the auditory awareness negativity (AAN) and the late positivity (LP). These correlates of auditory awareness are typically observed with tasks in which subjects are required to report their awareness with manual responses. Thus, the correlates may be confounded by this manual response requirement....
Article
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The mismatch negativity (MMN) has been of particular interest in auditory perception because of its sensitivity to auditory change. It is typically measured in an oddball task and is computed as the difference of deviant minus standard tones. Previous studies suggest that the oddball MMN can be reduced by crossmodal attention to a concurrent, diffi...
Article
Full-text available
One theory of visual awareness proposes that electrophysiological activity related to awareness occurs in primary visual areas approximately 200 ms after stimulus onset (visual awareness negativity: VAN) and in fronto-parietal areas about 300 ms after stimulus onset (late positivity: LP). Although similar processes might be involved in auditory awa...
Preprint
Marsh et al. (2018, Journal of Experimental Psychology-Learning Memory and Cognition, 44, 882-897) reported finding a dissociation between the effects of serial recall tasks and those of a missing-item task on the disruptive effects of speech and of emotional words, as predicted by the duplex-mechanism account. Critically, the reported analyses did...
Article
In psychological experiments, behavioral speed varies across trials, and this variation is often associated with corresponding fluctuations in cortical activity. Little is known about such cortical variations in semantic priming tasks where target words are matched with preceding sensory object cues. Here, two visually presented target words (“pear...
Article
Full-text available
The mismatch negativity (MMN) has been widely studied with oddball tasks to index processing of unexpected auditory change. The MMN is computed as the difference of deviant minus standard and is used to capture the pattern violation by the deviant. However, this oddball MMN is confounded because the deviant differs physically from the standard and...
Article
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Successful social interaction relies on the accurate decoding of other peoples’ emotional signals, and their contextual integration. However, little is known about how contextual odors may lead to modulation of cortical processing in response to facial expressions. We investigated how unpleasant and pleasant contextual background odors affected emo...
Article
Full-text available
Electrophysiological recordings are commonly used to study the neural correlates of consciousness in humans. Previous research is inconsistent as to whether awareness can be indexed with visual awareness negativity (VAN) at about 200 ms or if it occurs later. The present study was preregistered with two main aims: First, to provide independent evid...
Article
Full-text available
Semantic satiation is characterised by the subjective and temporary loss of meaning after high repetition of a prime word. To study the nature of this effect, previous electroencephalography (EEG) research recorded the N400, an ERP component that is sensitive to violations of semantic context. The N400 is characterised by a relative negativity to w...
Article
Full-text available
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are often accompanied by atypical visual, auditory, and tactile sensory behavior. Evidence also suggests alterations of the olfactory system, but the pattern of findings appears mixed. To quantify this pattern systematically, we conducted a meta-analysis. Studies were included if they examined olfactory function (i.e...
Article
Full-text available
The data presented in this article are related to our research article entitled “Effects of sound pressure level and visual perceptual load on the auditory mismatch negativity” [1]. The duration MMN was recorded at three sound pressure levels (SPLs) during two levels of visual perceptual load. In an oddball paradigm (standard=75ms, deviant=30ms, wi...
Article
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are often characterized by atypical sensory behavior (hyper- or hyporeactivity) although evidence is scarce regarding olfactory abilities in ASD; 16 adults with high-functioning ASD (mean age: 38.2, SD: 9.7) and 14 healthy control subjects (mean age: 42.0 years, SD: 12.5) were assessed in odor threshold, free and cue...
Article
Full-text available
Auditory change detection has been studied extensively with mismatch negativity (MMN), an event-related potential. Because it is unresolved if the duration MMN depends on sound pressure level (SPL), we studied effects of different SPLs (56, 66, and 76dB) on the duration MMN. Further, previous research suggests that the MMN is reduced by a concurren...
Article
Full-text available
Because of the continuing debates about statistics, many researchers may feel confused about how to analyze and interpret data. Current guidelines in psychology advocate the use of effect sizes and confidence intervals (CIs). However, researchers may be unsure about how to extract effect sizes from factorial designs. Contrast analysis is helpful be...
Article
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Because the auditory system is particularly useful in monitoring the environment, previous research has examined whether task-irrelevant, auditory distracters are processed even if subjects focus their attention on visual stimuli. This research suggests that attentionally demanding visual tasks decrease the auditory mismatch negativity (MMN) to sim...
Data
Data file in tab-delimited format. (TXT)
Article
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As a form of attention, mindfulness is qualitatively receptive and non-reactive, and is thought to facilitate adaptive emotional responding. One suggestedmechanism is that mindfulness facilitates disengagement from an affective stimulus and thereby decreases affective reactivity. However, mindfulness has been conceptualized as a state, intervention...
Article
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When people view emotional and neutral pictures, the emotional pictures capture more attention than do neutral pictures. In support, studies with event-related potentials have shown that the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP) to emotional versus neutral pictures are enhanced when pictures are attended. However, t...
Article
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Attention is captured more strongly by emotional pictures than by neutral pictures. This allocation of attention to emotional pictures is commonly indexed by the late positive potential (LPP). This event-related potential (ERP) is larger for negative and positive pictures than for neutral pictures. However, findings are mixed in regards to valence...
Article
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Emotional stimuli tend to capture attention, and this so-called motivated attention is commonly measured using the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP). We hypothesized that voluntary, directed attention reduces motivated attention more strongly for highly than moderately arousing pleasant or unpleasant pictures. P...
Article
A core feature of schizophrenia is the breakdown of the sense of self. A widespread clinical consequence of impaired self-awareness is a lack of insight. Self-face recognition is regarded as one aspect of self-awareness; how this relates to other self-referential processes such as insight into the disorder is as yet unknown. Nineteen patients with...
Article
Full-text available
In the aging literature it has been shown that even though emotion recognition performance decreases with age, the decrease is less for happiness than other facial expressions. Stud-ies in younger adults have also revealed that happy faces are more strongly attended to and better recognized than other emotional facial expressions.Thus, there might...
Article
Full-text available
In research on event-related potentials (ERP) to emotional pictures, greater attention to emotional than neutral stimuli (i.e., motivated attention) is commonly indexed by two difference waves between emotional and neutral stimuli: the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP). Evidence suggests that if attention is dir...
Article
Compared with nonarousing stimuli, arousing stimuli enhance memory performance. The most robust effects have been reported for negative stimuli, "the negativity effect," although a number of mediating factors prevent definitive conclusions, for example, age, gender, memory task, retention period, and alternative arousal measures. To clarify whether...
Article
Full-text available
Previous research suggests that the own-race bias (ORB) in memory for faces is a result of other-race faces receiving less visual attention at encoding. As women typically display an own-gender bias in memory for faces and men do not, we investigated whether face gender and sex of viewer influenced visual attention and memory for own- and other-rac...
Article
Theories of emotion propose that responses to emotional pictures can occur independently of whether or not people are aware of the picture content. Because evidence from dissociation paradigms is inconclusive, we manipulated picture awareness gradually and studied whether emotional responses varied with degree of awareness. Spider fearful and non-f...
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Full-text available
Previous research suggests that intense, emotional pictures at fixation elicit an early posterior negativity (EPN) and a late positive potential (LPP) despite manipulations of spatial inattention and perceptual load. However, if high emotional intensity protects against such manipulations, then these manipulations should reduce emotional effects on...
Data
ERP responses to IAPS pictures (negative and neutral) in participants treated with oxazepam (OX) and placebo (PL). Top panel shows EPN component and bottom panel shows LPP component (headplots show electrode clusters in purple).
Data
Mean amplitudes (95% CI) of the EPN (upper panel) and LPP components (lower panel) during picture viewing and memory sessions (electrode cluster shown in green on headplots; note that component amplitudes are plotted as negative minus neutral condition and that components elicited by old and new stimuli are shown separately in graph).
Article
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Little is known about how rapid electrocortical responses (event-related potentials; ERPs) to affective pictures are modulated by benzodiazepine agonists. The present study investigated effects of oxazepam (20 mg p.o.) on behavioral measures and ERPs associated with affective picture processing during perception and recognition memory retrieval. Fo...
Article
We investigated effects of different proportions of incongruent trials on behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) interference measures associated with response conflict in the Stroop and flanker task. From the literature, we hypothesized that response conflict is greater when incongruent trials are rare compared to when incongruent trials are...
Article
Full-text available
As researchers debate whether emotional pictures can be processed irrespective of spatial attention and perceptual load, negative and neutral pictures of simple figure-ground composition were shown at fixation and were surrounded by one, two, or three letters. When participants performed a picture discrimination task, there was evidence for motivat...
Article
Full-text available
Viewing of emotional pictures elicits two event-related potentials (ERPs) to emotional versus neutral pictures: an early posterior negativity (EPN) and a late positive potential (LPP). Because it is unresolved whether these indexes of emotional processing are reduced to task-irrelevant pictures at fixation, negative and neutral pictures from the In...
Article
Full-text available
Neural processing of emotional pictures is often indexed by two electrocortical responses: the early posterior negativity (EPN) and the late positive potential (LPP). Because emotional pictures vary in nonemotional features (e.g., composition, human content, and spatial frequency), researchers often match pictures on nonemotional features to avoid...
Article
Research suggests that processing of emotional stimuli may be eliminated if a concurrent task places sufficient demands on attentional resources. To test whether this holds for stimuli with strong emotional significance, pictures of spiders as well as mushrooms were presented at fixation to spider-fearful and non-fearful participants. Concurrently,...
Article
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Although many theories of emotion hypothesise a crucial role for the self-perception of visceral activity, there has been little empirical investigation of the relationship between visceral self-perception and emotion. In this study, 52 undergraduates (19 males, 33 females) performed a heartbeat detection task and were classified as good (n=9) or p...
Article
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Various experimental tasks suggest that fear guides attention. However, because these tasks often lack ecological validity, it is unclear to what extent results from these tasks can be generalized to real-life situations. In change detection tasks, a brief interruption of the visual input (i.e., a blank interval or a scene cut) often results in und...
Article
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Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance level (SCL) was used to index...
Article
Full-text available
Affective neuroscience has been strongly influenced by the view that a 'feeling' is the perception of somatic changes and has consequently often neglected the neural mechanisms that underlie the integration of somatic and other information in affective experience. Here, we investigate affective processing by means of functional magnetic resonance i...
Article
Full-text available
If emotions guide consciousness, people may recognize degraded objects in center view more accurately if they either fear the objects or are disgusted by them. Therefore, we studied whether recognition of spiders and snakes correlates with individual differences in spider fear, snake fear, and disgust sensitivity. Female students performed a recogn...
Article
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The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) was used to examine (i) social decision-making in women with borderline personality disorder (BPD), and (ii) the relationship between impaired decision-making and the tryptophan hydroxylase-1 (TPH-1) gene, involved in serotonin synthesis. Forty-two women with BPD and a history of suicide attempts were genotyped, and the...
Article
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The ApoE gene is expressed in olfactory brain structures and is believed to play a role in neuronal regenerative processes as well as in development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. The varepsilon4 allele has been reported to be associated with compromised odor identification ability in the elderly, and this deficit ha...
Article
Affective processing and emotional experience may change with age. Because findings of age differences in affective experiences are mixed even in studies using standardized stimuli, this study assessed age differences along gradual increases in negative arousal. Younger (20-30 years) and older (70-80 years) healthy adults (n=78) viewed 110 neutral...
Article
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Background: James and Lange proposed that emotions are the perception of physiological reactions. Two-level theories of emotion extend this model to suggest that cognitive interpretations of physiological changes shape self-reported emotions. Correspondingly false physiological feedback of evoked or tonic bodily responses can alter emotional attri...
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Although visual consciousness can be manipulated easily (e.g., by visual masking), it is unresolved whether it can be assessed accurately with behavioral measures such as discrimination ability and self-report. Older theories of visual consciousness postulated a sensory threshold and distinguished between subjective and objective thresholds. In con...
Article
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Theories of emotion postulate that emotional input is processed independently from perceptual awareness. Although visual masking has a long tradition in studying whether emotional pictures are processed below a supposed threshold of perceptual awareness (subliminal perception), a consensus has yet to be reached. This article reviews current concern...
Article
Many theories of emotion propose that emotional input is processed preferentially due to its relevance for the organism. Further, because consciousness has limited capacity, these considerations imply that emotional input ought to be processed even if participants are perceptually unaware of the input (subliminal perception). Although brain imaging...
Article
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Many theories of emotion have postulated a close relationship of the feedback of physiological changes and their perception with emotional experience. This paper reviews recent advances in theory and brain-imaging research on this topic of interoception and describes a hypothetical model of the potential mechanisms. Research from patients with spin...
Article
When a brief target picture is followed by another picture (mask), people often report that they are not consciously aware of the target. Thus, visual masking can be used to manipulate perceptual awareness of target pictures. To avoid interference with magnetic resonance imaging, pictures have been presented on liquid crystal device (LCD) and thin...
Article
Research has shown that backward masking is a powerful tool for studying unconscious mental processes. Whereas studies have traditionally presented stimuli using cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors or mechanical shutters together with slide projectors, recent studies (mainly in functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) have begun to use methods base...