Emotional facial activation induced by unconsciously perceived dynamic facial expressions

Kaiser, Jakob, Davey, Graham C L, Parkhouse, Thomas, Meeres, Jennifer and Scott, Ryan B (2016) Emotional facial activation induced by unconsciously perceived dynamic facial expressions. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 110. pp. 207-211. ISSN 0167-8760

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Do facial expressions of emotion influence us when not consciously perceived? Methods to investigate this question have typically relied on brief presentation of static images. In contrast, real facial expressions are dynamic and unfold over several seconds. Recent studies demonstrate that gaze contingent crowding (GCC) can block awareness of dynamic expressions while still inducing behavioural priming effects. The current experiment tested for the first time whether dynamic facial expressions presented using this method can induce unconscious facial activation. Videos of dynamic happy and angry expressions were presented outside participants' conscious awareness while EMG measurements captured activation of the zygomaticus major (active when smiling) and the corrugator supercilii (active when frowning). Forced-choice classification of expressions confirmed they were not consciously perceived, while EMG revealed significant differential activation of facial muscles consistent with the expressions presented. This successful demonstration opens new avenues for research examining the unconscious emotional influences of facial expressions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
Depositing User: Lene Hyltoft
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2016 15:36
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 19:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63547

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