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ERIC Number: EJ923001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 98
ISSN: ISSN-0028-3932
Event-Related Brain Potential Correlates of Emotional Face Processing
Eimer, Martin; Holmes, Amanda
Neuropsychologia, v45 n1 p15-31 2007
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. (Contains 8 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A