Facial expression aftereffect revealed by adaption to emotion-invisible dynamic bubbled faces

Luo, C., Wang, Q., Schyns, P. G. , Kingdom, F. A.A. and Xu, H. (2015) Facial expression aftereffect revealed by adaption to emotion-invisible dynamic bubbled faces. PLoS ONE, 10(12), e0145877. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0145877) (PMID:26717572) (PMCID:PMC4703136)

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Visual adaptation is a powerful tool to probe the short-term plasticity of the visual system. Adapting to local features such as the oriented lines can distort our judgment of subsequently presented lines, the tilt aftereffect. The tilt aftereffect is believed to be processed at the low-level of the visual cortex, such as V1. Adaptation to faces, on the other hand, can produce significant aftereffects in high-level traits such as identity, expression, and ethnicity. However, whether face adaptation necessitate awareness of face features is debatable. In the current study, we investigated whether facial expression aftereffects (FEAE) can be generated by partially visible faces. We first generated partially visible faces using the bubbles technique, in which the face was seen through randomly positioned circular apertures, and selected the bubbled faces for which the subjects were unable to identify happy or sad expressions. When the subjects adapted to static displays of these partial faces, no significant FEAE was found. However, when the subjects adapted to a dynamic video display of a series of different partial faces, a significant FEAE was observed. In both conditions, subjects could not identify facial expression in the individual adapting faces. These results suggest that our visual system is able to integrate unrecognizable partial faces over a short period of time and that the integrated percept affects our judgment on subsequently presented faces. We conclude that FEAE can be generated by partial face with little facial expression cues, implying that our cognitive system fills-in the missing parts during adaptation, or the subcortical structures are activated by the bubbled faces without conscious recognition of emotion during adaptation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schyns, Professor Philippe
Authors: Luo, C., Wang, Q., Schyns, P. G., Kingdom, F. A.A., and Xu, H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 Luo et al.
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 10(12):e0145877
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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