Affective meanings aroused by various objects, such as paintings, melodies, or words, can be quantified by the semantic differential (SD) technique (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957). In this technique, three main factors ("Evaluation,""Activity," and "Potency") have been consistently extracted from factor analyses of participants' subjective ratings of various objects using bipolar scales of adjective pairs. In the present study, we investigated brain activity during SD ratings of line-drawing stimuli using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We compared brain activity among the three main factors underlying affective meanings. The overall results showed that Evaluation, Activity, and Potency produced brain activities in the inferior frontal gyrus, the superior temporal gyrus, and the superior frontal gyrus, respectively. These findings suggest that the psychological structures underlying affective meanings are distributed in specific areas of the brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas