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Hong Xu, Pan Liu, Yuan Yuan, Weisi Lin; Effect of spatial frequency on facial expression adaptation and awareness of emotion. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):139. doi: 10.1167/15.12.139.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Spatial frequency plays an important role in face perception (Wu et al., 2009). Previous studies (Goffaux & Rossion, 2006) found that low spatial frequency signalled holistic face processing. However, its effect on face adaptation and awareness of emotion is largely unknown. In particular, does spatial frequency affect facial expression adaptation and awareness of emotion? We designed two experiments, the first was to test the adaptation effect by manipulating the spatial frequency of the adapting faces, and the second was to test the disciminability of these faces. First, we manipulated the spatial frequency of a sad real face, and created three faces with normal, high and low spatial frequency. We adapted the subjects to these faces, and tested their facial expression judgement of subsequently presented faces. We found that both the normal- and low-spatial-frequency adapting faces induced significant facial expression aftereffects (both ps < .01), with equivalent magnitudes (p > .05). In contrast, we did not find any significant facial expression aftereffect when adapting to the high-spatial-frequency face (p > .05). This suggests that coarse information preserved in the high-spatial-frequency adapting faces is sufficient to bias subsequent face perception. This result points to the holistic nature of facial expression adaptation. We then examined the facial expression discriminability of these adapting faces. Results showed that participants could always differentiate facial expressions for both normal- and low-spatial-frequency faces accurately. However, the accuracy of high-spatial-frequency faces was at chance level (50%; p > .05), suggesting that participants could not tell facial expressions from these faces. To summarize, the results from our adaptation study indicate the holistic nature of facial expression adaptation, and this effect of spatial frequency is likely to be influenced by the adaptor’s discriminability. Therefore, our study sheds light on the holistic nature of face processing and awareness of emotion during adaptation.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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