September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Social dominance orientation influences the perception of facial expressions
Author Affiliations
  • Janir Ramos da Cruz
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
    Institute for Systems and Robotics/Department of Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • John Thoresen
    Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • João Rodrigues
    Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Vitaly Chicherov
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Patrícia Figueiredo
    Institute for Systems and Robotics/Department of Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Michael Herzog
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Carmen Sandi
    Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics, Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 1007. doi:10.1167/17.10.1007
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      Janir Ramos da Cruz, John Thoresen, João Rodrigues, Vitaly Chicherov, Patrícia Figueiredo, Michael Herzog, Carmen Sandi; Social dominance orientation influences the perception of facial expressions. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1007. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1007.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

In face-to-face communications, facial expressions provide strong clues for the perception of the social dominance orientation (SDO) of other individuals. Here, we show that, interestingly, processing of facial expressions is different for classified high-dominance (HD) and low-dominance (LD) people. We determined the observers' SDO by applying the dominance subscale questionnaire (Jackson, 1984), and split them up into an HD and an LD group based on their scores. First, we found that, in a challenging face discrimination task between angry and neutral faces, HD participants had significantly shorter reaction times than LD participants, while achieving similar classification accuracies. Further, scalp EEG recordings showed that, when responding to faces in the angry/neutral condition, HD participants had significantly higher P2 amplitudes than LD participants. EEG source imaging indicated that these differences measured at the scalp level emerged from increased bilateral activation of the middle temporal gyri, left superior temporal gyrus, and the cingulate gyrus. While the middle temporal gyri are related to processing of faces, the left superior temporal gyrus is involved in the perception of emotional stimuli and the cingulate gyrus is influential in linking behavioral outcomes to motivation. We suggest that, when confronted with ambiguous/difficult social contexts, HD individuals tend to recruit emotional face processing areas of the brain more strongly than their LD peers, which allows HD individuals to make faster decisions about their social environment.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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