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The relation of expression recognition and affective experience in facial expression processing: an event-related potential study

Authors Dong G, Lu S

Published 27 April 2010 Volume 2010:3 Pages 65—74


Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Guangheng Dong1, Shenglan Lu2

1Department of Psychology, 2Department of International Education, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua, China

Abstract: The present study investigates the relationship of expression recognition and affective experience during facial expression processing by event-related potentials (ERP). Facial expressions used in the present study can be divided into three categories: positive (happy), neutral (neutral), and negative (angry). Participants were asked to finish two kinds of facial recognition tasks: one was easy, and the other was difficult. In the easy task, significant main effects were found for different valence conditions, meaning that emotions were evoked effectively when participants recognized the expressions in facial expression processing. However, no difference was found in the difficult task, meaning that even if participants had identified the expressions correctly, no relevant emotion was evoked during the process. The findings suggest that emotional experience was not simultaneous with expression identification in facial expression processing, and the affective experience process could be suppressed in challenging cognitive tasks. The results indicate that we should pay attention to the level of cognitive load when using facial expressions as emotion-eliciting materials in emotion studies; otherwise, the emotion may not be evoked effectively.

Keywords: affective experience, expression recognition, cognitive load, event-related potential

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