To investigate the impact of spatial frequency on emotional facial expression analysis, ERPs were recorded in response to low spatial frequency (LSF), high spatial frequency (HSF), and unfiltered broad spatial frequency (BSF) faces with fearful or neutral expressions, houses, and chairs. In line with previous findings, BSF fearful facial expressions elicited a greater frontal positivity than BSF neutral facial expressions, starting at about 150 ms after stimulus onset. In contrast, this emotional expression effect was absent for HSF and LSF faces. Given that some brain regions involved in emotion processing, such as amygdala and connected structures, are selectively tuned to LSF visual inputs, these data suggest that ERP effects of emotional facial expression do not directly reflect activity in these regions. It is argued that higher order neocortical brain systems are involved in the generation of emotion-specific waveform modulations. The face-sensitive N170 component was neither affected by emotional facial expression nor by spatial frequency information
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