An electrophysiological study of emotional perception in a dual-task paradigm Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2n49t611x

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  • The present study examined whether emotion perception requires central attentional resources. A dual-task paradigm was used to examine whether people can direct their attention to a face expressing a target emotion, even while they are still selecting a response to another task. Task-1 required an auditory discrimination while for Task-2, one happy face and one angry face were presented adjacent to each other. Participants were asked to find the face with a pre-specified emotion and indicate its gender (Experiment 1), location (Experiment 2), or identify whether the faces were the same gender or different gender without emotional goal settings (Experiment 3). The stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) between the two tasks was varied. To determine where people were attending, an electrophysiological measure of attention known as the N2pc component of the event-related brain potential was used. The face expressing the target emotion elicited an N2pc effect, indicating attention capture, even when participants were already pre-occupied with processing Task-1 (i.e., short SOAs). Thus, it appears that emotion perception can occur even when central attentional resources are unavailable. In addition, angry faces elicited a much larger N2pc effect than happy faces, indicating an attentional bias toward negative emotions.
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