• Temporal processing of emotional stimuli: The capture and release of attention by angry faces

      Maratos, Frances A.; University of Derby (American Psychological Association, 2011-10)
      Neuroimaging data suggest that emotional information, especially threatening faces, automatically captures attention and receives rapid processing. While this is consistent with the majority of behavioral data, behavioral studies of the attentional blink (AB) additionally reveal that aversive emotional first target (T1) stimuli are associated with prolonged attentional engagement or “dwell” time. One explanation for this difference is that few AB studies have utilized manipulations of facial emotion as the T1. To address this, schematic faces varying in expression (neutral, angry, happy) served as the T1 in the current research. Results revealed that the blink associated with an angry T1 face was, primarily, of greater magnitude than that associated with either a neutral or happy T1 face, and also that initial recovery from this processing bias was faster following angry, compared with happy, T1 faces. The current data therefore provide important information regarding the time-course of attentional capture by angry faces: Angry faces are associated with both the rapid capture and rapid release of attention.