Individuals’ ability to express their subjective experiences in terms of such attributes as pleasant/unpleasant or positive/negative feelings forms a fundamental property of their affect and emotion. However, neuroscientific findings on the underlying neural substrates of the affect appear to be inconclusive with some reporting the presence of distinct and independent brain systems and others identifying flexible and distributed brain regions. A common theme among these studies is the focus on the change in brain activation. As a result, they do not take into account the findings that indicate the brain activation and its information content does not necessarily modulate and that the stimuli with equivalent sensory and behavioural processing demands may not necessarily result in differential brain activation. In this article, we take a different stance on the analysis of the differential effect of the negative, neutral and positive affect on the brain functioning in which we look into the whole-brain variability: that is the change in the brain information processing measured in multiple distributed regions. For this purpose, we compute the entropy of individuals’ muti-channel EEG recordings who watched movie clips with differing affect. Our results suggest that the whole-brain variability significantly differentiates between the negative, neutral and positive affect. They also indicate that although some brain regions contribute more to such differences, it is the whole-brain variational pattern that results in their significantly above chance level prediction. These results imply that although the underlying brain substrates for negative, neutral and positive affect exhibit quantitatively differing degrees of variability, their differences are rather subtly encoded in the whole-brain variational patterns that are distributed across its entire activity.
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