Adaptive social behavior requires perceiving and flexible processing of changing facial expressions that
convey different socio-affective meanings. Although a more conscious processing and effortful interpretation of some facial expressions, such as disgust, may be required, certain facial expressions, such as fear, may be processed in a rapid, more automatic, way. To advance in this issue, event-related potentials were used to investigate the effects of attention and emotion expression on face processing in the brain. The emotion facial expressions that were examined were the prototypical of different basic emotions (fear, disgust, happiness, surprise, anger and sadness). Stimuli consisted of a house and a face transparently superimposed. Participants were instructed to attend to either the face or the house, in different emotion expression conditions, in order to signal consecutive repetitions of the same person or the same house in separate blocks of trials. The emotional nature of the faces was not relevant to the task. Different effects of attention and different spatio-temporal patterns of brain electrical activity were observed for faces with distinct emotion facial expressions. Results showed that the processing of distinct emotion from faces is gated by attention allocation at different latencies and associated with different neural responses. We conclude that
different brain mechanisms underlie the perception of distinct basic emotion facial expressions.
MANUSCRIPTS IN PREPARATION OR UNDER REVIEW:
Iglesias, J., Olivares, E.I., Santos, I.M., & Young, A.W (in preparation): Neural sources of attention effects on brain potentials to fearful and disgusted faces.; Iglesias, J., Olivares, E.I., Santos, I.M., & Young, A.W (in preparation): Brain areas and time course of attentional modulation on event-related potentials to angry and sadness faces.; Santos, I.M., Iglesias, J., Olivares, E.I., & Young, A.W. (under 2nd review): Differential effects of object-based attention on evoked potentials to fearful and disgusted faces.; Santos, I.M., Iglesias, J., Olivares, E.I., & Young, A.W. (in preparation): Neural correlates of attention effects on brain electric responses to happiness and surprised faces.