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Brandon Coffey, Siera Bramschreiber, Andrew Mienaltowski; Impact of Peripherally Presented Emotional Expressions on Subsequent Target Detection. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1381. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1381.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Emotional stimuli have the ability to capture our attention and influence how we perceive our surroundings. Previous research demonstrates that fearful facial expressions can impair the perception of elementary visual features of a subsequent visual target while simultaneously improving the perception of the target’s rapidly varying temporal features. These results have been attributed to amygdalar enhancements of magnocellular visual inputs. The current study extends prior research by examining the extent to which angry and happy facial expressions enhance or inhibit the detection of a temporal or spatial gap in a Landolt circle stimulus. Participants (N = 38, ages 18-23) were presented with angry and neutral facial cues or with happy and neutral facial cues followed by a variation of a Landolt circle target. Facial cues appeared at 8 to 10 degrees away from a central fixation point in the periphery, and Landolt circle targets appeared at 4 degrees from fixation. Some participants monitored the circle target for a temporal gap (or flicker), and others monitored the circle target for a spatial gap (or absent segment). Participant perception was tracked across gap and no gap trials using a signal detection measure of discriminability. Overall, participants displayed an emotion-related enhancement in detecting a spatial gap in a Landolt circle target when it was proceeded by an angry cue relative to a neutral cue, and they displayed an emotion-related enhancement in detecting a timing gap in a Landolt circle target when it was proceeded by a happy cue relative to a neutral cue. These findings suggest that the impact that emotional stimuli presented in the periphery can have on subsequent target detection varies as a function of emotion and as a function of the type of perceptual judgment being performed. Consistency and inconsistency of findings with prior research will be discussed.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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