Brain regions that process affect are strongly connected with visual regions, but the functional consequences of this structural organization have been relatively unexplored. How does the momentary affect of an observer influence perception? We induced either pleasant or unpleasant affect in participants and then recorded their neural activity using magnetoencephalography while they completed an object recognition task. We hypothesized, and found, that affect influenced the speed of object recognition by modulating the speed and amplitude of evoked responses in occipitotemporal cortex and regions important for representing affect. Furthermore, affect modulated functional interactions between affective and perceptual regions early during perceptual processing. These findings indicate that affect can serve as an important contextual influence on object recognition processes.
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