Event-Related Potentials to Faces Presented in an Emotional Context
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The ability to recognize faces is a key skill forming our social behavior. Much attention has been focused on studies of the perception of emotional faces and expressions, though the question of the effects of context on the face recognition process has received little study. Subjects in the studies reported here watched a video clip, after which EEG recordings were made as they performed a task with photographs of the neutral faces of the characters in the film and photographs of the neutral faces of fillers (characters not appearing in the film). Studies were performed using event-related potentials (ERP). Differences were found in the amplitude of the P200 component in responses to presentation of the faces of culprits and victims, which may be associated with the different subjective significance of these stimuli for the person watching the video clip. Correlations were also found between the subjects’ personality characteristics (anxiety, aggressivity, hostility) and increases in the amplitude of the P200 component in response to the faces of victims as compared with fillers. Further studies of the effects of emotional context on the perception of faces are required.
KeywordsEEG ERP P200 recognition of faces
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