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      Sex differences in processing historical documentary containing real violence

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      documentary images, emotion, ERP

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          Watching historical documentaries containing real violence and feeling the anguish of the past events impact the emotional condition of individuals to a different extent. Sex-related reactions may further contribute differently to emotional processing of atrocities. The aim of this study, which is part of the international project "Broadcasting History in the Transnational Space", was to investigate sex-related ERP modulations during the demonstration of the video set of 80 negative (from the Holocaust documentary "Night and Fog", France) and 80 unsensed images. 38 healthy volunteers (21 women and 17 men) participated in this study. They regarded the historical images we offered them as unpleasant and activating. We analysed average signal amplitude of ERPs in the time intervals 40-80, 80-120, 120-220, 220-300, 300-400 and 400-700 ms after the beginning of the exposure. The historical photos caused the same emotions and attract the same level of attention in both sexes (P300 and LPP in the occipital regions). In women, the historical images required more efforts to process the information presented in the pictures and to establish the semantic content in comparison to men (N400 in frontal and central areas). In men, the ERP amplitude in the central parietal zone reflected a larger activity of polymodal projection zones and the level of association in comparison to women. Thus, men and women use different cognitive strategies to perceive negative information.

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          documentary images, emotion, ERP


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