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Emotional facial expressions reduce neural adaptation to face identity.

Authors
  • Gerlicher, Anna M V
  • van Loon, Anouk M
  • Scholte, H Steven
  • Lamme, Victor A F
  • van der Leij, Andries R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
May 01, 2014
Volume
9
Issue
5
Pages
610–614
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1093/scan/nst022
PMID: 23512931
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

In human social interactions, facial emotional expressions are a crucial source of information. Repeatedly presented information typically leads to an adaptation of neural responses. However, processing seems sustained with emotional facial expressions. Therefore, we tested whether sustained processing of emotional expressions, especially threat-related expressions, would attenuate neural adaptation. Neutral and emotional expressions (happy, mixed and fearful) of same and different identity were presented at 3 Hz. We used electroencephalography to record the evoked steady-state visual potentials (ssVEP) and tested to what extent the ssVEP amplitude adapts to the same when compared with different face identities. We found adaptation to the identity of a neutral face. However, for emotional faces, adaptation was reduced, decreasing linearly with negative valence, with the least adaptation to fearful expressions. This short and straightforward method may prove to be a valuable new tool in the study of emotional processing.

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