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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Jun;9(6):849-56. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst056. Epub 2013 Apr 14.

Value associations of emotional faces can modify the anger superiority effect: behavioral and electrophysiological evidence.

Author information

  • 1Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USAKey Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USA.
  • 2Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USAKey Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USAKey Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USA.
  • 3Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USAKey Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Southwest University, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China, Center for Metal Health Research, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China, and University of Missouri-St Louis, St Louis, MO 63121, USA yangd@swu.edu.cn.

Abstract

Although several paradigms have shown that threatening faces are processed preferentially, no study to date has investigated whether this preferential processing can be manipulated by value associations. Using schematic faces, this study was divided into three phases in order to investigate the effects of associating high values with happy faces and low values with angry faces. The baseline phase, in which elicited a shorter RT and a larger N2pc for angry faces than for happy faces, demonstrated that the preferential processing of angry faces could be obtained in the discrimination task. After the training phase, which established associations between different face targets and their respective values, the anger superiority effect remained absent in a subsequent test phase despite the fact that participants clearly understood that no reward (gain) or punishment (loss) would be provided. Our investigation shows that the 'anger superiority effect' can be modified by value associations and that the value effect, rather than the impact of endogenous attention, played a more crucial role in manipulating the preferential processing of angry faces.

© The Author (2013). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

KEYWORDS:

N2pc; angry faces; discrimination task; preferential processing; value associations

PMID:
23588270
[PubMed - in process]
PMCID:
PMC4040100
[Available on 2015/6/1]
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