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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: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.10.1007.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
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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