Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind: Unseen Affective Faces Influence Evaluations and Social Impressions

Emotion (Impact Factor: 3.88). 04/2012; 12(6). DOI: 10.1037/a0027514
Source: PubMed


Using Continuous Flash Suppression (CFS), we demonstrated in four experiments that affective information extracted from unseen faces influences both affective and personality judgments of neutral faces. In four experiments, participants judged neutral faces as more pleasant or unpleasant (Studies 1 and 2) or as more or less trustworthy, likable, and attractive (Study 3) or as more or less competent or interpersonally warm (Study 4) when paired with unseen smiling or scowling faces compared to when paired with unseen neutral faces. These findings suggest that affective influences are a normal part of everyday experience and provide evidence for the affective foundations consciousness. Affective misattribution arises even when affective changes occur after a neutral stimulus is presented, demonstrating that these affective influences cannot be explained as a simple semantic priming effect. These findings have implications for understanding the constructive nature of experience, as well as the role of affect in social impressions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

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Available from: Lisa Feldman Barrett, Jul 23, 2014
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    • "Previous studies utilizing CFS paradigms demonstrate that, in healthy adults, unseen affective information exerts a powerful influence on person perception judgments. Neutral faces are rated as more likeable, trustworthy, warm, and even attractive based on whether the neutral faces were paired with an " unseen " happy or angry face (Anderson et al., 2012). These are important results insofar as judgments about another individual's personality traits – such as warmth or trustworthiness – are critical to the first impressions we form of others (e.g., Bar et al., 2006) and subsequent social interactions (Fazio et al., 1981; Hall and Andrzejewski , 2008; Uleman et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Bipolar disorder is fundamentally a disorder of emotion regulation, and associated with explicit processing biases for socially relevant emotional information in human faces. Less is known, however, about whether implicit processing of this type of emotional information directly influences social perception. We thus investigated group-related differences in the influence of unconscious emotional processing on conscious person perception judgments using a continuous flash suppression task among 22 individuals with remitted bipolar I disorder (BD; AgeM=30.82, AgeSD=7.04; 68.2% female) compared with 22 healthy adults (CTL; AgeM=20.86, AgeSD=9.91; 72.2% female). Across both groups, participants rated neutral faces as more trustworthy, warm, and competent when paired with unseen happy faces as compared to unseen angry and neutral faces; participants rated neutral faces as less trustworthy, warm, and competent when paired with unseen angry as compared to neutral faces. These findings suggest that emotion-related disturbances are not explained by early automatic processing stages, and that activity in the dorsal visual stream underlying implicit emotion processing is intact in bipolar disorder. Implications for understanding the etiology of emotion disturbance in BD are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Journal of Affective Disorders
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    • "In accordance with this interpretation, several affective priming investigations additionally suggest that emotions can be recognized and influence our judgments after only a subliminal presentation of facial stimuli, which excludes conscious processing in the form of longer fixations or scanning behavior (Hoschel and Irle, 2001; Lu et al., 2011; Anderson et al., 2012; Prochnow et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Schizophrenia patients have impairments in facial affect recognition and display scanpath abnormalities during the visual exploration of faces. These abnormalities are characterized by fewer fixations on salient feature areas and longer fixation durations. The present study investigated whether social-cognitive remediation not only improves performance in facial affect recognition but also normalizes patients' gaze behavior while looking at faces. Methods: Within a 2 × 2-design (group × time), 16 schizophrenia patients and 16 healthy controls performed a facial affect recognition task with concomitant infrared oculography at baseline (T0) and after six weeks (T1). Between the measurements, patients completed the Training of Affect Recognition (TAR) program. The influence of the training on facial affect recognition (percent of correct answers) and gaze behavior (number and mean duration of fixations into salient or non-salient facial areas) was assessed. Results: In line with former studies, at baseline patients showed poorer facial affect recognition than controls and aberrant scanpaths, and after TAR facial affect recognition was improved. Concomitant with improvements in performance, the number of fixations in feature areas ('mouth') increased while fixations in non-feature areas ('white space') decreased. However, the change in fixation behavior did not correlate with the improvement in performance. Conclusions: After TAR, patients pay more attention to facial areas that contain information about a displayed emotion. Although this may contribute to the improved performance, the lack of a statistical correlation implies that this factor is not sufficient to explain the underlying mechanism of the treatment effect.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Schizophrenia Research
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    • "Thus, here CFS’s extreme effectiveness for rendering stimuli invisible becomes, paradoxically, a potential drawback. Indeed, this may explain why so many CFS studies that use a priming paradigm choose not to include a visible condition at all: priming effects known to exist based on previous research using visible stimuli were only assessed using prime stimuli rendered invisible by CFS (Almeida et al., 2008, 2010, 2013; Anderson et al., 2012; Faivre et al., 2012; Sakuraba et al., 2012; Zabelina et al., 2013). In these studies, evidence for priming despite CFS is revealing, particularly when the strength of these subliminal priming effects varies across stimulus categories (e.g., tools versus faces). "
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    ABSTRACT: The interocular suppression technique termed continuous flash suppression (CFS) has become an immensely popular tool for investigating visual processing outside of awareness. The emerging picture from studies using CFS is that extensive processing of a visual stimulus, including its semantic and affective content, occurs despite suppression from awareness of that stimulus by CFS. However, the current implementation of CFS in many studies examining processing outside of awareness has several drawbacks that may be improved upon for future studies using CFS. In this paper, we address some of those shortcomings, particularly ones that affect the assessment of unawareness during CFS, and ones to do with the use of "visible" conditions that are often included as a comparison to a CFS condition. We also discuss potential biases in stimulus processing as a result of spatial attention and feature-selective suppression. We suggest practical guidelines that minimize the effects of those limitations in using CFS to study visual processing outside of awareness.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Frontiers in Psychology
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