Attention modulates the processing of emotional expression triggered by foveal faces

School of Human and Life Sciences, Roehampton University, Whitelands College, Holybourne Avenue, London SW15 4JD, UK.
Neuroscience Letters (Impact Factor: 2.03). 03/2006; 394(1):48-52. DOI: 10.1016/j.neulet.2005.10.002
Source: PubMed


To investigate whether the processing of emotional expression for faces presented within foveal vision is modulated by spatial attention, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in response to stimulus arrays containing one fearful or neutral face at fixation, which was flanked by a pair of peripheral bilateral lines. When attention was focused on the central face, an enhanced positivity was elicited by fearful as compared to neutral faces. This effect started at 160 ms post-stimulus, and remained present for the remainder of the 700 ms analysis interval. When attention was directed away from the face towards the line pair, the initial phase of this emotional positivity remained present, but emotional expression effects beyond 220 ms post-stimulus were completely eliminated. These results demonstrate that when faces are presented foveally, the initial rapid stage of emotional expression processing is unaffected by attention. In contrast, attentional task instructions are effective in inhibiting later, more controlled stages of expression analysis.

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    • "December 2013 | Volume 4 | Article 969 | 1 " fpsyg-04-00969 " — 2013/12/24 — 17:35 — page 2 — #2 Uusberg et al. Unintentionality of affective attention suggest that early detection of emotional significance should be more effortless than subsequent elaboration (e.g., Holmes et al., 2006; Pourtois et al., 2010; although see Pessoa, 2010). However , it is empirically (cf. "
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