On the ‘special’ status of emotional faces... Comment on Yang, Hong, and Blake (2010)

Adams, Wendy J., Gray, Katie L.H., Garner, Matthew J. and Graf, Erich W. (2011) On the ‘special’ status of emotional faces... Comment on Yang, Hong, and Blake (2010) Journal of Vision, 11, (3, article 10), pp. 1-4. (doi:10.1167/11.3.10). (PMID:21398408).


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A wealth of literature suggests that emotional faces are given special status as visual objects: Cognitive models suggest that emotional stimuli, particularly threat-relevant facial expressions such as fear and anger, are prioritized in visual processing and may be identified by a subcortical “quick and dirty” pathway in the absence of awareness (Tamietto & de Gelder, 2010). Both neuroimaging studies (Williams, Morris, McGlone, Abbott, & Mattingley, 2004) and backward masking studies (Whalen, Rauch, Etcoff, McInerney, & Lee, 1998) have supported the notion of emotion processing without awareness. Recently, our own group (Adams, Gray, Garner, & Graf, 2010) showed adaptation to emotional faces that were rendered invisible using a variant of binocular rivalry: continual flash suppression (CFS, Tsuchiya & Koch, 2005). Here we (i) respond to Yang, Hong, and Blake's (2010) criticisms of our adaptation paper and (ii) provide a unified account of adaptation to facial expression, identity, and gender, under conditions of unawareness.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1167/11.3.10
ISSNs: 1534-7362 (print)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
ePrint ID: 177043
Date :
Date Event
11 March 2011Published
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2011 11:55
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 02:41
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/177043

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