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PLoS One. 2016 Oct 13;11(10):e0164633. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164633. eCollection 2016.

Incongruence between Verbal and Non-Verbal Information Enhances the Late Positive Potential.

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Neurorehabilitation Research Center, Kio University, 4-2-2 Umaminaka, Koryo, Kitakatsuragi-gun, Nara, 635-0832, Japan.
Department of Rehabilitation, Higashisumiyoshi Morimoto Hospital, 3-2-66 Takaai, Higashisumiyoshi, Osaka-city, Osaka, 546-0014, Japan.


Smooth social communication consists of both verbal and non-verbal information. However, when presented with incongruence between verbal information and nonverbal information, the relationship between an individual judging trustworthiness in those who present the verbal-nonverbal incongruence and the brain activities observed during judgment for trustworthiness are not clear. In the present study, we attempted to identify the impact of incongruencies between verbal information and facial expression on the value of trustworthiness and brain activity using event-related potentials (ERP). Combinations of verbal information [positive/negative] and facial expressions [smile/angry] expressions were presented randomly on a computer screen to 17 healthy volunteers. The value of trustworthiness of the presented facial expression was evaluated by the amount of donation offered by the observer to the person depicted on the computer screen. In addition, the time required to judge the value of trustworthiness was recorded for each trial. Using electroencephalography, ERP were obtained by averaging the wave patterns recorded while the participants judged the value of trustworthiness. The amount of donation offered was significantly lower when the verbal information and facial expression were incongruent, particularly for [negative × smile]. The amplitude of the early posterior negativity (EPN) at the temporal lobe showed no significant difference between all conditions. However, the amplitude of the late positive potential (LPP) at the parietal electrodes for the incongruent condition [negative × smile] was higher than that for the congruent condition [positive × smile]. These results suggest that the LPP amplitude observed from the parietal cortex is involved in the processing of incongruence between verbal information and facial expression.

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