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Shanna Yeung, Alisdair Taylor, Cristina Rubino, Jason Barton; Valence, expression and identity effects in the affective priming paradigm. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1375. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1375.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Background: In the affective-priming paradigm, a briefly-presented facial expression (prime) facilitates reaction time to identify a subsequent facial expression (target) if the prime and target are congruent in emotional valence (i.e. both positive or both negative). However, some studies have found that facilitation is more specific, only occurring when the prime and target share the same emotion (e.g. both angry). Objective: We investigated first whether reaction times to identify expressions showed valence priming effects that were modulated by whether the specific emotion was congruent between the prime and target. Second, we examined whether effects differed when the prime and target were faces of different people, a situation which minimizes low-level image effects. Methods: 22 subjects were asked to indicate if the valence of a target facial expression was positive or negative. A prime (no prime, angry, fearful, happy) was shown for 85ms, preceded and followed by masks, and then a target expression (angry, fearful, or happy) was shown for 100ms. We examined whether priming by negative emotions (angry or fearful) differed from positive emotions (happy). Next we assessed whether there was an interaction between specific expressions of the prime and of the target. Results: We replicated the valence effect of priming, showing that subjects were faster to respond to positive emotions with a positive prime, and negative emotions with negative primes. Similar effects were obtained when the faces of the prime and target differed in identity. Examination of effects on negative targets showed no interaction between prime and target, in either same or different-identity blocks. Conclusion: Expression-priming effects are related to emotional valence rather than specific expressions. Along with the finding that the effects do not depend on facial identity, this indicates a high-level origin of the priming effect, rather than an effect generated by low-level image properties.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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