Original Paper

Brain Topography

, 22:145

First online:

Steady State Visually Evoked Potential Correlates of Static and Dynamic Emotional Face Processing

  • A. K. MayesAffiliated withBrain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology
  • , A. PipingasAffiliated withBrain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology
  • , R. B. SilbersteinAffiliated withBrain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology
  • , Patrick JohnstonAffiliated withBrain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University of Technology Email author 

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Abstract

While the neural regions associated with facial identity recognition are considered to be well defined, the neural correlates of non-moving and moving images of facial emotion processing are less clear. This study examined the brain electrical activity changes in 26 participants (14 males M = 21.64, SD = 3.99; 12 females M = 24.42, SD = 4.36), during a passive face viewing task, a scrambled face task and separate emotion and gender face discrimination tasks. The steady state visual evoked potential (SSVEP) was recorded from 64-electrode sites. Consistent with previous research, face related activity was evidenced at scalp regions over the parieto-temporal region approximately 170 ms after stimulus presentation. Results also identified different SSVEP spatio-temporal changes associated with the processing of static and dynamic facial emotions with respect to gender, with static stimuli predominately associated with an increase in inhibitory processing within the frontal region. Dynamic facial emotions were associated with changes in SSVEP response within the temporal region, which are proposed to index inhibitory processing. It is suggested that static images represent non-canonical stimuli which are processed via different mechanisms to their more ecologically valid dynamic counterparts.

Keywords

Biological motion Face processing Social perception Steady state topography Emotion