Love withdrawal is related to heightened processing of faces with emotional expressions and incongruent emotional feedback: Evidence from ERPs

Renske Huffmeijer, Mattie Tops, Lenneke R A Alink*, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marinus H. van IJzendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Parental use of love withdrawal is thought to affect children's later psychological functioning because it creates a link between children's performance and relational consequences. To investigate whether love withdrawal is also associated with the underlying level of basic information processing in the brain, we studied event-related potentials to feedback stimuli that combined performance feedback with emotional facial expressions. We focused on the VPP (face processing) and N400 (incongruence processing). More maternal use of love withdrawal was related to more positive VPP amplitudes, larger effects of the emotional facial expression on VPP amplitude, and more negative N400 responses to incongruent combinations of feedback and facial expressions. Our findings suggest a heightened processing of faces with emotional expressions and greater sensitivity to incongruence between feedback and facial expression in individuals who experienced more love withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Emotional facial expressions
  • Event-related potentials
  • Feedback
  • Love withdrawal

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