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Daniel Albohn, Kestutis Kveraga, Reginald Adams; When do subliminally presented expressive bodies enhance vs. inhibit facial expression processing?. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):159. doi: 10.1167/16.12.159.
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Introduction: Previous work has shown that congruent combinations of non-overlapping expressive cues are integrated early in the visual process and enhance detection of faces (Adams et al., 2011). In patients with blindsight, studies have shown that congruent (vs. incongruent) pairings of subliminally presented expressive bodies in the right visual field (RVF) enhances detection of faces presented in the left visual field (LVF; Tamietto et al., 2005; 2007). Here we extend this work by examining the effect in a healthy adult sample. Additionally, we used neutral body expressions as a baseline to see if the congruent body-face detection advantage is inhibitory or facilitatory. Method: Participants (N = 23) were presented with backward-masked neutral and expressive bodies paired with a 1s exposure to expressive faces (fear/anger). Body images were always presented to the opposite VF than the expressive face. Participants were tasked with identifying the facial expression as quickly and as accurately as possible. Results: We replicated previous work showing that congruent body-face pairings are identified with higher accuracy and faster RTs than neutral body-face pairings, which in turn are identified more accurately than incongruent body-face pairings when the body was presented in the RVF. However, when the body was presented in the LVF, this advantage disappears, showing a congruency by VF interaction. Further, there was a significant main effect for VF, with bodies in the RVF showing advantageous effects overall, consistent with a right hemisphere advantage for face processing. However, for neutral body expression trials, faces were responded to with higher accuracy and faster RTs than both congruent and incongruent pairings of expressive bodies and faces when body expressions were in the LVF. Conclusion: This work suggests that congruent pairings of bodies and faces to opposite VFs may only be advantageous under certain circumstances (i.e., in the RVF).
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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