Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing

Martin Walter, Felix Bermpohl, Harold Mouras, Kolja Schiltz, Claus Tempelmann, Michael Rotte, Hans Jochen Heinze, Bernhard Bogerts, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

131 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Sexual activity involves excitement with high arousal and pleasure as typical features of emotions. Brain activations specifically related to erotic feelings and those related to general emotional processing are therefore hard to disentangle. Using fMRI in 21 healthy subjects (11 males and 10 females), we investigated regions that show activations specifically related to the viewing of sexually intense pictures while controlling for general emotional arousal (GEA) or pleasure. Activations in the ventral striatum and hypothalamus were found to be modulated by the stimulus' specific sexual intensity (SSI) while activations in the anterior cingulate cortex were associated with an interaction between sexual intensity and emotional valence. In contrast, activation in other regions like the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the mediodorsal thalamus and the amygdala was associated only with a general emotional component during sexual arousal. No differences were found in these effects when comparing females and males. Our findings demonstrate for the first time neural differentiation between emotional and sexual components in the neural network underlying sexual arousal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1482-1494
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroImage
Volume40
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2008

Fingerprint

Arousal
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Pleasure
Emotions
Gyrus Cinguli
Amygdala
Prefrontal Cortex
Thalamus
Sexual Behavior
Hypothalamus
Healthy Volunteers
Brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

Cite this

Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing. / Walter, Martin; Bermpohl, Felix; Mouras, Harold; Schiltz, Kolja; Tempelmann, Claus; Rotte, Michael; Heinze, Hans Jochen; Bogerts, Bernhard; Northoff, Georg.

In: NeuroImage, Vol. 40, No. 4, 01.05.2008, p. 1482-1494.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Walter, M, Bermpohl, F, Mouras, H, Schiltz, K, Tempelmann, C, Rotte, M, Heinze, HJ, Bogerts, B & Northoff, G 2008, 'Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing', NeuroImage, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 1482-1494. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.040
Walter, Martin ; Bermpohl, Felix ; Mouras, Harold ; Schiltz, Kolja ; Tempelmann, Claus ; Rotte, Michael ; Heinze, Hans Jochen ; Bogerts, Bernhard ; Northoff, Georg. / Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing. In: NeuroImage. 2008 ; Vol. 40, No. 4. pp. 1482-1494.
@article{61e4987457b042259f7b385998482f19,
title = "Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing",
abstract = "Sexual activity involves excitement with high arousal and pleasure as typical features of emotions. Brain activations specifically related to erotic feelings and those related to general emotional processing are therefore hard to disentangle. Using fMRI in 21 healthy subjects (11 males and 10 females), we investigated regions that show activations specifically related to the viewing of sexually intense pictures while controlling for general emotional arousal (GEA) or pleasure. Activations in the ventral striatum and hypothalamus were found to be modulated by the stimulus' specific sexual intensity (SSI) while activations in the anterior cingulate cortex were associated with an interaction between sexual intensity and emotional valence. In contrast, activation in other regions like the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the mediodorsal thalamus and the amygdala was associated only with a general emotional component during sexual arousal. No differences were found in these effects when comparing females and males. Our findings demonstrate for the first time neural differentiation between emotional and sexual components in the neural network underlying sexual arousal.",
author = "Martin Walter and Felix Bermpohl and Harold Mouras and Kolja Schiltz and Claus Tempelmann and Michael Rotte and Heinze, {Hans Jochen} and Bernhard Bogerts and Georg Northoff",
year = "2008",
month = "5",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.040",
language = "English",
volume = "40",
pages = "1482--1494",
journal = "NeuroImage",
issn = "1053-8119",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Distinguishing specific sexual and general emotional effects in fMRI-Subcortical and cortical arousal during erotic picture viewing

AU - Walter, Martin

AU - Bermpohl, Felix

AU - Mouras, Harold

AU - Schiltz, Kolja

AU - Tempelmann, Claus

AU - Rotte, Michael

AU - Heinze, Hans Jochen

AU - Bogerts, Bernhard

AU - Northoff, Georg

PY - 2008/5/1

Y1 - 2008/5/1

N2 - Sexual activity involves excitement with high arousal and pleasure as typical features of emotions. Brain activations specifically related to erotic feelings and those related to general emotional processing are therefore hard to disentangle. Using fMRI in 21 healthy subjects (11 males and 10 females), we investigated regions that show activations specifically related to the viewing of sexually intense pictures while controlling for general emotional arousal (GEA) or pleasure. Activations in the ventral striatum and hypothalamus were found to be modulated by the stimulus' specific sexual intensity (SSI) while activations in the anterior cingulate cortex were associated with an interaction between sexual intensity and emotional valence. In contrast, activation in other regions like the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the mediodorsal thalamus and the amygdala was associated only with a general emotional component during sexual arousal. No differences were found in these effects when comparing females and males. Our findings demonstrate for the first time neural differentiation between emotional and sexual components in the neural network underlying sexual arousal.

AB - Sexual activity involves excitement with high arousal and pleasure as typical features of emotions. Brain activations specifically related to erotic feelings and those related to general emotional processing are therefore hard to disentangle. Using fMRI in 21 healthy subjects (11 males and 10 females), we investigated regions that show activations specifically related to the viewing of sexually intense pictures while controlling for general emotional arousal (GEA) or pleasure. Activations in the ventral striatum and hypothalamus were found to be modulated by the stimulus' specific sexual intensity (SSI) while activations in the anterior cingulate cortex were associated with an interaction between sexual intensity and emotional valence. In contrast, activation in other regions like the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, the mediodorsal thalamus and the amygdala was associated only with a general emotional component during sexual arousal. No differences were found in these effects when comparing females and males. Our findings demonstrate for the first time neural differentiation between emotional and sexual components in the neural network underlying sexual arousal.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=41649117257&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=41649117257&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.040

DO - 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.01.040

M3 - Article

C2 - 18329905

AN - SCOPUS:41649117257

VL - 40

SP - 1482

EP - 1494

JO - NeuroImage

JF - NeuroImage

SN - 1053-8119

IS - 4

ER -