Subliminal and Supraliminal Processing of Facial Expression of Emotions: Brain Oscillation in the Left/Right Frontal Area

Article, Other literature type English OPEN
Balconi, Michela ; Ferrari, Chiara (2012)
  • Publisher: MDPI
  • Journal: Brain Sciences, volume 2, issue 2, pages 85-100 (issn: 2076-3425, eissn: 2076-3425)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4061794, doi: 10.3390/brainsci2020085
  • Subject: facial expression | emotions | Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry | subliminal | RC321-571 | brain oscillation | Article

The unconscious effects of an emotional stimulus have been highlighted by a vast amount of research, whereover it remains questionable whether it is possible to assign a specific function to cortical brain oscillations in the unconscious perception of facial expressions of emotions. Alpha band variation was monitored within the right- and left-cortical side when subjects consciously (supraliminal stimulation) or unconsciously (subliminal stimulation) processed facial patterns. Twenty subjects looked at six facial expressions of emotions (anger, fear, surprise, disgust, happiness, sadness, and neutral) under two different conditions: supraliminal (200 ms) vs. subliminal (30 ms) stimulation (140 target-mask pairs for each condition). The results showed that conscious/unconscious processing and the significance of the stimulus can modulate the alpha power. Moreover, it was found that there was an increased right frontal activity for negative emotions vs. an increased left response for positive emotion. The significance of facial expressions was adduced to elucidate cortical different responses to emotional types.
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