Beyond the attentional blink: An electrophysiological study of processing facial emotional expression Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/xs55md97d

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  • Behavioral studies have observed facial recognition bypass attentional limitations when performed with non-facial recognition tasks (e.g., a digit task). Awh et al. (2004) proposed this was due to multi-channel processing, where non-facial objects utilize a feature-based channel leaving the configural-based channel available for facial processing. We tested this hypothesis using the N400 event-related potential (ERP) component, thought to reflect context mismatch. Participants performed an emotional word discrimination Task 1 and a facial emotion discrimination Task 2, while emotional congruency between these targets was manipulated. The tasks were embedded in a series of distractors that were presented in rapid succession at the same location, as the relative positions between these two targets varied (by Lag 1, 3, or 7). Identification of the second target is commonly impaired when closely following the first (i.e., at Lag 2 or 3), known as the attentional blink (AB). We found a relatively small AB effect for Task 2 face emotion accuracy, indicating facial emotion was not immune to ABs. The N400 effect (difference in ERPs between mismatch and match trials) also showed AB effects for Task 2 angry faces. Our findings suggest facial emotions are subject to attentional limitations.
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