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Effects of Unconscious Processing on Implicit Memory for Fearful Faces  [PDF]
Jiongjiong Yang,Xiaohong Xu,Xiaoya Du,Cuntong Shi,Fang Fang
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014641
Abstract: Emotional stimuli can be processed even when participants perceive them without conscious awareness, but the extent to which unconsciously processed emotional stimuli influence implicit memory after short and long delays is not fully understood. We addressed this issue by measuring a subliminal affective priming effect in Experiment 1 and a long-term priming effect in Experiment 2. In Experiment 1, a flashed fearful or neutral face masked by a scrambled face was presented three times, then a target face (either fearful or neutral) was presented and participants were asked to make a fearful/neutral judgment. We found that, relative to a neutral prime face (neutral–fear face), a fearful prime face speeded up participants' reaction to a fearful target (fear–fear face), when they were not aware of the masked prime face. But this response pattern did not apply to the neutral target. In Experiment 2, participants were first presented with a masked faces six times during encoding. Three minutes later, they were asked to make a fearful/neutral judgment for the same face with congruent expression, the same face with incongruent expression or a new face. Participants showed a significant priming effect for the fearful faces but not for the neutral faces, regardless of their awareness of the masked faces during encoding. These results provided evidence that unconsciously processed stimuli could enhance emotional memory after both short and long delays. It indicates that emotion can enhance memory processing whether the stimuli are encoded consciously or unconsciously.
Spatial Attention Effects of Disgusted and Fearful Faces  [PDF]
Dandan Zhang, Yunzhe Liu, Chenglin Zhou, Yuming Chen, Yuejia Luo
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101608
Abstract: Effective processing of threat-related stimuli is of significant evolutionary advantage. Given the intricate relationship between attention and the neural processing of threat-related emotions, this study manipulated attention allocation and emotional categories of threat-related stimuli as independent factors and investigated the time course of spatial-attention-modulated processing of disgusting and fearful stimuli. The participants were instructed to direct their attention either to the two vertical or to the two horizontal locations, where two faces and two houses would be presented. The task was to respond regarding the physical identity of the two stimuli at cued locations. Event-related potentials (ERP) evidences were found to support a two-stage model of attention-modulated processing of threat-related emotions. In the early processing stage, disgusted faces evoked larger P1 component at right occipital region despite the attention allocation while larger N170 component was elicited by fearful faces at right occipito-temporal region only when participants attended to houses. In the late processing stage, the amplitudes of the parietal P3 component enhanced for both disgusted and fearful facial expressions only when the attention was focused on faces. According to the results, we propose that the temporal dynamics of the emotion-by-attention interaction consist of two stages. The early stage is characterized by quick and specialized neural encoding of disgusting and fearful stimuli irrespective of voluntary attention allocation, indicating an automatic detection and perception of threat-related emotions. The late stage is represented by attention-gated separation between threat-related stimuli and neutral stimuli; the similar ERP pattern evoked by disgusted and fearful faces suggests a more generalized processing of threat-related emotions via top-down attentional modulation, based on which the defensive behavior in response to threat events is largely facilitated.
Emotional expectations influence neural sensitivity to fearful faces in humans: An event-related potential study
JieMin Yang,JiaJin Yuan,Hong Li
Science China Life Sciences , 2010, DOI: 10.1007/s11427-010-4083-4
Abstract: The present study tested whether neural sensitivity to salient emotional facial expressions was influenced by emotional expectations induced by a cue that validly predicted the expression of a subsequently presented target face. Event-related potentials (ERPs) elicited by fearful and neutral faces were recorded while participants performed a gender discrimination task under cued (‘expected’) and uncued (‘unexpected’) conditions. The behavioral results revealed that accuracy was lower for fearful compared with neutral faces in the unexpected condition, while accuracy was similar for fearful and neutral faces in the expected condition. ERP data revealed increased amplitudes in the P2 component and 200–250 ms interval for unexpected fearful versus neutral faces. By contrast, ERP responses were similar for fearful and neutral faces in the expected condition. These findings indicate that human neural sensitivity to fearful faces is modulated by emotional expectations. Although the neural system is sensitive to unpredictable emotionally salient stimuli, sensitivity to salient stimuli is reduced when these stimuli are predictable.
Elevated responses to constant facial emotions in different faces in the human amygdala: an fMRI study of facial identity and expression
Jan Gl?scher, Oliver Tüscher, Cornelius Weiller, Christian Büchel
BMC Neuroscience , 2004, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-5-45
Abstract: Previous studies suggest a predominant role of the amygdala in the assessment of emotional variability. Here we extend this view by showing that this structure activated to faces with changing identities that display constant emotional expressions. Within this condition, amygdala activation was dependent on the type and intensity of displayed emotion, with significant responses to fearful expressions and, to a lesser extent so to neutral and happy expressions. In contrast, the lateral fusiform gyrus showed a binary pattern of increased activation to changing stimulus features while it was also differentially responsive to the intensity of displayed emotion when processing different facial identities.These results suggest that the amygdala might serve to detect constant facial emotions in different individuals, complementing its established role for detecting emotional variability.Facial expressions and facial identities are important cues for the evaluation of social contexts [1,2]. Two main types of information have to be processed while seeing other persons' faces: a face has to be identified as belonging to a unique individual, establishing facial identity, while facial expressions have to be interpreted for emotional context, which is crucial for the social interaction [3]. Facial expression itself conveys two levels of information: first, facial emotions of others signal information about the emotional state and the benevolence or hostility of that person towards oneself; second, they convey information about the person's evaluation of the environment. The same emotional expression on several other persons' faces often signals a high degree of consistency in their evaluation of the current environment; they are therefore a particularly valid cue for one's own situational appraisal of this environment. In particular, the existence of specialized brain systems for the perception of fear expressions as a form of threat related to physical attack [4], points to the
Amygdala Volume Predicts Inter-Individual Differences in Fearful Face Recognition  [PDF]
Ke Zhao, Wen-Jing Yan, Yu-Hsin Chen, Xi-Nian Zuo, Xiaolan Fu
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074096
Abstract: The present study investigates the relationship between inter-individual differences in fearful face recognition and amygdala volume. Thirty normal adults were recruited and each completed two identical facial expression recognition tests offline and two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Linear regression indicated that the left amygdala volume negatively correlated with the accuracy of recognizing fearful facial expressions and positively correlated with the probability of misrecognizing fear as surprise. Further exploratory analyses revealed that this relationship did not exist for any other subcortical or cortical regions. Nor did such a relationship exist between the left amygdala volume and performance recognizing the other five facial expressions. These mind-brain associations highlight the importance of the amygdala in recognizing fearful faces and provide insights regarding inter-individual differences in sensitivity toward fear-relevant stimuli.
Decoding Unattended Fearful Faces with Whole-Brain Correlations: An Approach to Identify Condition-Dependent Large-Scale Functional Connectivity  [PDF]
Spiro P. Pantazatos ,Ardesheer Talati,Paul Pavlidis,Joy Hirsch
PLOS Computational Biology , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002441
Abstract: Processing of unattended threat-related stimuli, such as fearful faces, has been previously examined using group functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) approaches. However, the identification of features of brain activity containing sufficient information to decode, or “brain-read”, unattended (implicit) fear perception remains an active research goal. Here we test the hypothesis that patterns of large-scale functional connectivity (FC) decode the emotional expression of implicitly perceived faces within single individuals using training data from separate subjects. fMRI and a blocked design were used to acquire BOLD signals during implicit (task-unrelated) presentation of fearful and neutral faces. A pattern classifier (linear kernel Support Vector Machine, or SVM) with linear filter feature selection used pair-wise FC as features to predict the emotional expression of implicitly presented faces. We plotted classification accuracy vs. number of top N selected features and observed that significantly higher than chance accuracies (between 90–100%) were achieved with 15–40 features. During fearful face presentation, the most informative and positively modulated FC was between angular gyrus and hippocampus, while the greatest overall contributing region was the thalamus, with positively modulated connections to bilateral middle temporal gyrus and insula. Other FCs that predicted fear included superior-occipital and parietal regions, cerebellum and prefrontal cortex. By comparison, patterns of spatial activity (as opposed to interactivity) were relatively uninformative in decoding implicit fear. These findings indicate that whole-brain patterns of interactivity are a sensitive and informative signature of unattended fearful emotion processing. At the same time, we demonstrate and propose a sensitive and exploratory approach for the identification of large-scale, condition-dependent FC. In contrast to model-based, group approaches, the current approach does not discount the multivariate, joint responses of multiple functional connections and is not hampered by signal loss and the need for multiple comparisons correction.
Bozana Veres-Injac,Malte Persike
Psihologija , 2009,
Abstract: Early processing stages in the perception of familiar and unfamiliarfaces were studied in four experiments by varying the type of available facialinformation in a four alternative forced choice recognition task. Both reactiontime and recognition accuracy served as dependent measures. The observeddata revealed an asymmetry in processing familiar and unfamiliar faces. Amarkedly weak inversion effect and strong blurring effect suggest a limitedusage of spatial relations within early processing stages of unfamiliar faces.Recognition performance for whole familiar faces did not deteriorate due toblurring or the presentation of isolated internal features, suggesting a low levelof representation for featural properties of familiar faces. Based on the data wepropose that recognition of familiar faces relies much more on spatial relationsamong features, particularly internal features, than on featural characteristics. Incontrast, recognition of unfamiliar faces resorts mainly to featural information.
Betti numbers of finitely presented groups and very rapidly growing functions  [PDF]
Alexander Nabutovsky,Shmuel Weinberger
Mathematics , 2006,
Abstract: Define the length of a finite presentation of a group $G$ as the sum of lengths of all relators plus the number of generators. How large can be the $k$th Betti number $b_k(G)=$ rank $H_k(G)$ providing that $G$ has length $\leq N$ and $b_k(G)$ is finite? We prove that for every $k\geq 3$ the maximum $b_k(N)$ of $k$th Betti numbers of all such groups is an extremely rapidly growing function of $N$. It grows faster that all functions previously encountered in Mathematics (outside of Logic) including non-computable functions (at least those that are known to us). More formally, $b_k$ grows as the third busy beaver function that measures the maximal productivity of Turing machines with $\leq N$ states that use the oracle for the halting problem of Turing machines using the oracle for the halting problem of usual Turing machines. We also describe the fastest possible growth of a sequence of finite Betti numbers of a finitely presented group. In particular, it cannot grow as fast as the third busy beaver function but can grow faster than the second busy beaver function that measures the maximal productivity of Turing machines using an oracle for the halting problem for usual Turing machines. We describe a natural problem about Betti numbers of finitely presented groups such that its answer is expressed by a function that grows as the fifth busy beaver function. Also, we outline a construction of a finitely presented group all of whose homology groups are either ${\bf Z}$ or trivial such that its Betti numbers form a random binary sequence.
Abnormal social reward processing in autism as indexed by pupillary responses to happy faces
Leigh Sepeta, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Mari S Davies, Marian Sigman, Susan Y Bookheimer, Mirella Dapretto
Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1866-1955-4-17
Abstract: We monitored pupillary diameter as a measure of autonomic response in children with ASD (n?=?20, mean age?=?12.4) and TD controls (n?=?18, mean age?=?13.7) while they looked at faces displaying different emotions. Each face displayed happy, fearful, angry or neutral emotions with the gaze either directed to or averted from the subjects.Overall, children with ASD and TD controls showed similar pupillary responses; however, they differed significantly in their sensitivity to gaze direction for happy faces. Specifically, pupillary diameter increased among TD children when viewing happy faces with direct gaze as compared to those with averted gaze, whereas children with ASD did not show such sensitivity to gaze direction. We found no group differences in fixation that could explain the differential pupillary responses. There was no effect of gaze direction on pupil diameter for negative affect or neutral faces among either the TD or ASD group.We interpret the increased pupillary diameter to happy faces with direct gaze in TD children to reflect the intrinsic reward value of a smiling face looking directly at an individual. The lack of this effect in children with ASD is consistent with the hypothesis that individuals with ASD may have reduced sensitivity to the reward value of social stimuli.
Detecting the rapidly expanding outer shell of the Crab Nebula: where to look  [PDF]
Xiang Wang,G. J. Ferland,J. A. Baldwin,E. D. Loh,C. T. Richardson
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/774/2/112
Abstract: We present a range of steady-state photoionization simulations, corresponding to different assumed shell geometries and compositions, of the unseen postulated rapidly expanding outer shell to the Crab Nebula. The properties of the shell are constrained by the mass that must lie within it, and by limits to the intensities of hydrogen recombination lines. In all cases the photoionization models predict very strong emission from high ionization lines that will not be emitted by the Crab's filaments, alleviating problems with detecting these lines in the presence of light scattered from brighter parts of the Crab. The NIR [Ne VI] $\lambda$7.652 $\mu$m line is a particularly good case; it should be dramatically brighter than the optical lines commonly used in searches. The C IV $\lambda1549\AA$ doublet is predicted to be the strongest absorption line from the shell, which is in agreement with HST observations. We show that the cooling timescale for the outer shell is much longer than the age of the Crab, due to the low density. This means that the temperature of the shell will actually "remember" its initial conditions. However, the recombination time is much shorter than the age of the Crab, so the predicted level of ionization should approximate the real ionization. In any case, it is clear that IR observations present the best opportunity to detect the outer shell and so guide future models that will constrain early events in the original explosion.
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