Event-related potentials to changes in facial expression in two-phase transitions

Michael J. Wright, Lisa K. Kuhn, Mariska E. Kret
2017 PLoS ONE  
The purpose of the study was to compare event-related potentials (ERPs) to different transitions between emotional and neutral facial expressions. The stimuli contained a single transition between two different images of the same face, giving a strong impression of changing expression though apparent motion whilst eliminating change in irrelevant stimulus variables such as image contrast or identity. Stimuli were calibrated for intensity, valence and perceived emotion category and only trials
more » ... ere the target emotion was correctly identified were included. In the first experiment, a magnification change (zoom) was a control condition. Transitions from neutral to angry expressions produced a more negative N1 with longer peak latency, and more positive P2 than did an increase in magnification. Critically, response to neutral following angry, relative to neutral following magnified, showed a generally more negative ERP with a delayed N1 peak and reduced P2 amplitude. In the second experiment, comparison of neutral-happy and neutral-frightened transitions showed significantly different ERPs to emotional expression change. Responses to the reversed direction of a transition (happy-neutral and frightened-neutral) were much reduced. Unlike the comparison of angryneutral with magnified-neutral, there were minimal differences in the responses to neutral following happy and neutral following frightened. The results demonstrate in a young adult sample the directionality of responses to facial expression dynamics, and suggest a separation of neural mechanisms for detecting expression changes and magnification changes. OPEN ACCESS Citation: Wright MJ, Kuhn LK (2017) Event-related potentials to changes in facial expression in twophase transitions. PLoS ONE 12(4): e0175631.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0175631 pmid:28406957 pmcid:PMC5391024 fatcat:43tlhj5djrhzpb3fvhkceb47qa