August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Effect of lateralization of emotional faces and letters on the attentional blink.
Author Affiliations
  • Marcia Grabowecky
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
  • Laura Ortega
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
  • Chika Nwosu
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
  • Satoru Suzuki
    Department of Psychology, Northwestern University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 259. doi:10.1167/12.9.259
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      Marcia Grabowecky, Laura Ortega, Chika Nwosu, Satoru Suzuki; Effect of lateralization of emotional faces and letters on the attentional blink.. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):259. doi: 10.1167/12.9.259.

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Abstract

Emotional events attract and capture attention. A particularly salient stimulus is an emotional face. Faces, emotional or non-emotional, are preferentially processed in the right hemisphere. We used a lateralized attentional blink paradigm to investigate whether presentation of emotional faces to the left or right hemisphere differed in the magnitude of attentional blink. Targets were three different male faces expressing neutral, happy or angry expressions. On each trial, two upright targets (a neutral and an emotional face or two neutral faces) were presented within a stream of inverted-face distractors that were selected from a different set of neutral faces. As a control, we ran a second group that performed a lateralized version of a standard attentional blink task with upright letters as targets and inverted letters as distractors. We hypothesized that emotional faces might be preferentially processed in the right hemisphere, whereas letters, as linguistic stimuli, might be preferentially processed in the left hemisphere. Stimuli for both tasks were presented on the left or the right of the display centered at 3.72º from a central fixation point. Participants were pre-cued about the stimulus location and we verified fixation throughout each trial with an eye-tracker, terminating any trial where the eyes deviated vertically or horizontally by more than 2.14º from the fixation point. The magnitude of the attentional blink was reduced for left-visual-field/right hemisphere presentations (LVF/RH) for both neutral faces and letter stimuli, suggesting that the observed reduction in attentional blink magnitude for the LVF/RH was not due to a right hemisphere specialization for faces. It is possible that the right hemisphere is generally better at discriminating upright from inverted stimuli than is the left hemisphere or perhaps the right hemisphere is in general better at processing rapid stimuli.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012

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