For more than 50 years now, the Emotional Oddball Paradigm (EOP) has been employed to investigate how the human brain reacts to sudden changes in the emotionality of environmental stimuli. In the EOP, a sequence of one class of stimuli (standards) is sometimes interrupted by less frequent stimuli of a different class (deviants). Some or all of these stimuli are emotional. Many different processes, behaviors, and populations have been the subjects of EOP research.
In part one, this doctoral thesis aims to both provide an overview of existing literature in order to classify variants of the EOP, and to integrate EEG, fMRI, and behavioral results, including results from memory experiments (with a special emphasis on emotion-induced anterograde and retrograde memory effects). In the second part, results of four memory experiments with words as stimuli are reported as well as one replication attempt with pictorial stimulus material. While the results with regard to written verbal material were rather inconclusive, significant amnesic retrograde effects were found with pictorial stimuli, if negative deviants were presented. Throughout all experiments, however, memory performances for standards neighboring positive deviants were unaffected. Results are discussed in the light of existing literature and advice for future directions is given.