Comparing three models of arousal in the human brain

Hadeel Haj-Ali, Adam K. Anderson, Assaf Kron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The bipolar valence-arousal model is assumed by many to be an underlying structure of conscious experience of core affect and emotion. In this work, we compare three versions of the bipolar valence-arousal model at the neural domain, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Specifically, we systematically contrast three models of arousal: model 1 - 'arousal as a separate quale from valence', model 2 - 'arousal as intensity of bipolar valence' and model 3 - 'arousal as a linear combination of unipolar pleasant and unpleasant'. Using parametric modulation analysis, we estimated the ability of each model to predict activation in arousal-related brain regions, in response to affective stimuli. The results suggest that arousal is not separable from valence in its ability to predict arousal-related neural activity. The relevance of the results to the theory of conscious affect is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press.


  • arousal
  • fMRI
  • parametric modulation
  • valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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