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Event-related brain potential correlates of emotional face processing

Eimer, Martin and Holmes, A. (2007) Event-related brain potential correlates of emotional face processing. Neuropsychologia 45 (1), 15 - 31. ISSN 0028-3932.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2006....

Abstract

Results from recent event-related brain potential (ERP) studies investigating brain processes involved in the detection and analysis of emotional facial expression are reviewed. In all experiments, emotional faces were found to trigger an increased ERP positivity relative to neutral faces. The onset of this emotional expression effect was remarkably early, ranging from 120 to 180 ms post-stimulus in different experiments where faces were either presented at fixation or laterally, and with or without non-face distractor stimuli. While broadly distributed positive deflections beyond 250 ms post-stimulus have been found in previous studies for non-face stimuli, the early frontocentrally distributed phase of this emotional positivity is most likely face-specific. Similar emotional expression effects were found for six basic emotions, suggesting that these effects are not primarily generated within neural structures specialised for the automatic detection of specific emotions. Expression effects were eliminated when attention was directed away from the location of peripherally presented emotional faces, indicating that they are not linked to pre-attentive emotional processing. When foveal faces were unattended, expression effects were attenuated, but not completely eliminated. It is suggested that these ERP correlates of emotional face processing reflect activity within a neocortical system where representations of emotional content are generated in a task-dependent fashion for the adaptive intentional control of behaviour. Given the early onset of the emotion-specific effects reviewed here, it is likely that this system is activated in parallel with the ongoing evaluation of emotional content in the amygdala and related subcortical brain circuits.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The Perception of Emotion and Social Cues in Faces
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Face processing, emotion, emotional facial expression, event-related brain potentials, cognitive affective neuroscience
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2011 09:26
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 12:21
URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/3933

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