Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Attention modulates the processing of emotional expression triggered by foveal faces

By A. Holmes, Monika Kiss and Martin Eimer


To investigate whether the processing of emotional expression for faces presented within foveal vision is modulated by spatial attention, event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded in response to stimulus arrays containing one fearful or neutral face at fixation, which was flanked by a pair of peripheral bilateral lines. When attention was focused on the central face, an enhanced positivity was elicited by fearful as compared to neutral faces. This effect started at 160 ms post-stimulus, and remained present for the remainder of the 700 ms analysis interval. When attention was directed away from the face towards the line pair, the initial phase of this emotional positivity remained present, but emotional expression effects beyond 220 ms post-stimulus were completely eliminated. These results demonstrate that when faces are presented foveally, the initial rapid stage of emotional expression processing is unaffected by attention. In contrast, attentional task instructions are effective in inhibiting later, more controlled stages of expression analysis

Topics: psyc
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). Amelsv o o r t , D. Robert s o n
  2. (2002). An ERP st udy on the time cours e of emoti o n a l face proces s i n g , Neuror e port 13
  3. (2002). An ERP study on the time course of emotional face processing, doi
  4. Attentional control of the processing of neutral and emotional stimuli, doi
  5. (2003). Cholinergic enhancement modulates neural correlates of selective attention and emotional processing, doi
  6. (2004). Distant influen c e s of amygdal a lesion on visual co rtical activation dur ing emotional face processi n g
  7. (2004). Distant influences of amygdala lesion on visual cortical activation during emotional face processing, doi
  8. (2001). Effec t s of attent i o n and emotio n on face proces s i n g in the human brai n: An event-r e l a t e d fMRI study,
  9. (2001). Effects of attention and emotion on face processing in the human brain: An event-related fMRI study, doi
  10. (2001). Emotional expressions capture attention, doi
  11. (2000). Explicit and implicit neural mechanisms for processing of social information from facial expressions: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, doi
  12. (2000). Facial expres s i o n s of emotio n : Are angry faces dete c t e d more effic i e nt l y?
  13. (2002). Facial expression and selective attention, doi
  14. (2000). Facial expressions of emotion: Are angry faces detected more efficiently? doi
  15. (1976). Fries e n , Pict u r es of Faci al Affec t , Consu l t i n g Psych ol o g i s t s Press ,
  16. Gutierr e z , L.G. Ungerle i d e r , Neural proces s i n g of emoti o n a l faces requi r e s attent i o n , Proc Natl Acad Sci.
  17. (2001). Lesions of the human amygdala impair enhanced perception of emotionally salient events,
  18. (2002). Modulation of spatial attention by fear-conditioned stimu l i : an event- r e l a t e d fMRI st udy, Neurop s y c hol o g i a 40
  19. (2002). Modulation of spatial attention by fear-conditioned stimuli: an event-related fMRI study, doi
  20. Neural processing of emotional faces requires attention, Proc Natl Acad Sci. doi
  21. Phel ps, Lesion s of the human amygda l a impair enhanc e d percep t i o n of emotion a l l y salien t events ,
  22. (1976). Pictures of Facial Affect, Consulting Psychologists Press,
  23. (2001). Schwart z , Emotion a l express i o n s capture attenti o n , Neurolo g y 56
  24. The involvement of distinct visual channels in rapid attention towards fearful facial expressions, Cogn Emo. doi
  25. (2003). The processing of emotional facial expression is gated by spatial attention: evidence from event-related brain potentials, doi
  26. (2003). The role of spati al atten t i o n in the proce ss i n g of facial expression: An ER P study of rapid brain respo n s e s to six basic emoti o n s , Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci .
  27. (2003). The role of spatial attention in the processing of facial expression: An ERP study of rapid brain responses to six basic emotions, doi
  28. (2003). Ti me course and specif i c i t y of event- r e l a t e d poten t i a l s to emoti o n a l expre s s i ons,
  29. (2003). Time course and specificity of event-related potentials to emotional expressions, doi
  30. (2005). To what extent are em otio n a l visua l stimu l i proce s s e d witho u t attention and awareness?
  31. (2005). To what extent are emotional visual stimuli processed without attention and awareness? doi
  32. Ungerleide r , Atten t i o na l contr o l of the processing of neutr a l and emoti o n a l stimu l i ,
  33. (2003). Vuill e u mi e r
  34. (2002). Vuill e u mi e r , Facia l e xpression and selective attention , C u r r Opin Psyc.
  35. (2003). Vuille u mi e r
  36. Vuilleumi e r , Th e invol v e me n t of disti n c t visua l chann e l s in rapid atten t i o n towar d s fearfu l facial expres s i ons, Cogn Emo.
  37. (2002). Watchin g where you look: modulat i o n of visual proce s s i n g of foveal stimu l i by sp atia l attent i o n , Neurop s y c h o l o g i a 40
  38. (2002). Watching where you look: modulation of visual processing of foveal stimuli by spatial attention, doi

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.