Are adaptation aftereffects for facial emotional expressions affected by prior knowledge about the emotion?

Wincenciak, J. , Palumbo, L., Epihova, G., Barraclough, N. E. and Jellema, T. (2022) Are adaptation aftereffects for facial emotional expressions affected by prior knowledge about the emotion? Cognition and Emotion, 36(4), pp. 602-615. (doi: 10.1080/02699931.2022.2031907) (PMID:35094648)

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Accurate perception of the emotional signals conveyed by others is crucial for successful social interaction. Such perception is influenced not only by sensory input, but also by knowledge we have about the others’ emotions. This study addresses the issue of whether knowing that the other’s emotional state is congruent or incongruent with their displayed emotional expression (“genuine” and “fake”, respectively) affects the neural mechanisms underpinning the perception of their facial emotional expressions. We used a visual adaptation paradigm to investigate this question in three experiments employing increasing adaptation durations. The adapting stimuli consisted of photographs of emotional facial expressions of joy and anger, purported to reflect (in-)congruency between felt and expressed emotion, displayed by professional actors. A Validity checking procedure ensured participants had the correct knowledge about the (in-)congruency. Significantly smaller adaptation aftereffects were obtained when participants knew that the displayed expression was incongruent with the felt emotion, following all tested adaptation periods. This study shows that knowledge relating to the congruency between felt and expressed emotion modulates face expression aftereffects. We argue that this reflects that the neural substrate responsible for the perception of facial expressions of emotion incorporates the presumed felt emotion underpinning the expression.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council [RES-062-23-2797].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Wincenciak, Dr Joanna
Authors: Wincenciak, J., Palumbo, L., Epihova, G., Barraclough, N. E., and Jellema, T.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:Cognition and Emotion
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1464-0600
Published Online:31 January 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Author(s)
First Published:First published in Cognition and Emotion 36(4): 602-615
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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