Special Issue "Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425). This special issue belongs to the section "Cognitive Neuroscience".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 November 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Lucia Ricciardi

Guest Editor
Neurosciences Research Centre, Molecular and Clinical Sciences Research Institute, St George's University of London, London, United Kingdom
Interests: movement disorders; Parkinson’s disease; impulse controls disorders; affective neuroscience; psychophysiology; brain stimulation; DBS
Dr. Matteo Bologna
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Human Neurosciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
Interests: Motor Neurosciences, Movement Disorders

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Facial emotion expressivity and facial expression recognition have been active research areas and have attracted increasing attention from researchers in neuroscience, psychology, computer science, linguistics, and related disciplines.

Encouraged by the writings of Charles Darwin, eminent researchers such as Carroll Izard and Paul Ekman developed set of theories and methods on this topic.

Despite the increasing number of studies on facial emotion expressivity and facial expression recognition, the method of assessing and measuring them is challenging and their physiological mechanisms are still not entirely elucidated. Moreover, facial emotion expressivity and facial expression recognition are often impaired in a number of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders e.g. Parkinson’s disease and parkinsonism, Huntington’s disease, etc., and the pathophysiological basis underlining these abnormalities is not yet well-known.

In this Special Issue, we are interested in the processes and the neural structures involved in facial emotion expressivity and facial expression recognition, as well as in classic and innovative ways of assessing facial expressions in healthy people and in people with neuropsychiatric disoders. Studies using various methods, including electrophysiology and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, motion analysis, and neuroimaging are welcomed.

Dr. Lucia Ricciardi
Dr. Matteo Bologna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Face expressivity
  • Face recognition
  • Facial emotions
  • Emotion processing
  • Emotions
  • Amimia
  • Hypomimia
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Movement disorders
  • Neuropsychiatric conditions

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Seeing a Face in a Crowd of Emotional Voices: Changes in Perception and Cortisol in Response to Emotional Information across the Senses
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(8), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9080176 - 25 Jul 2019
Abstract
One source of information we glean from everyday experience, which guides social interaction, is assessing the emotional state of others. Emotional state can be expressed through several modalities: body posture or movements, body odor, touch, facial expression, or the intonation in a voice. [...] Read more.
One source of information we glean from everyday experience, which guides social interaction, is assessing the emotional state of others. Emotional state can be expressed through several modalities: body posture or movements, body odor, touch, facial expression, or the intonation in a voice. Much research has examined emotional processing within one sensory modality or the transfer of emotional processing from one modality to another. Yet, less is known regarding interactions across different modalities when perceiving emotions, despite our common experience of seeing emotion in a face while hearing the corresponding emotion in a voice. Our study examined if visual and auditory emotions of matched valence (congruent) conferred stronger perceptual and physiological effects compared to visual and auditory emotions of unmatched valence (incongruent). We quantified how exposure to emotional faces and/or voices altered perception using psychophysics and how it altered a physiological proxy for stress or arousal using salivary cortisol. While we found no significant advantage of congruent over incongruent emotions, we found that changes in cortisol were associated with perceptual changes. Following exposure to negative emotional content, larger decreases in cortisol, indicative of less stress, correlated with more positive perceptual after-effects, indicative of stronger biases to see neutral faces as happier. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
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Open AccessArticle
Electrophysiological Responses to Emotional Facial Expressions Following a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(6), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9060142 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The present study aimed to measure neural information processing underlying emotional recognition from facial expressions in adults having sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) as compared to healthy individuals. We thus measured early (N1, N170) and later (N2) event-related potential (ERP) components [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to measure neural information processing underlying emotional recognition from facial expressions in adults having sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) as compared to healthy individuals. We thus measured early (N1, N170) and later (N2) event-related potential (ERP) components during presentation of fearful, neutral, and happy facial expressions in 10 adults with mTBI and 11 control participants. Findings indicated significant differences between groups, irrespective of emotional expression, in the early attentional stage (N1), which was altered in mTBI. The two groups showed similar perceptual integration of facial features (N170), with greater amplitude for fearful facial expressions in the right hemisphere. At a higher-level emotional discrimination stage (N2), both groups demonstrated preferential processing for fear as compared to happiness and neutrality. These findings suggest a reduced early selective attentional processing following mTBI, but no impact on the perceptual and higher-level cognitive processes stages. This study contributes to further improving our comprehension of attentional versus emotional recognition following a mild TBI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
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Open AccessArticle
Joint Modulation of Facial Expression Processing by Contextual Congruency and Task Demands
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(5), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9050116 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Faces showing expressions of happiness or anger were presented together with sentences that described happiness-inducing or anger-inducing situations. Two main variables were manipulated: (i) congruency between contexts and expressions (congruent/incongruent) and (ii) the task assigned to the participant, discriminating the emotion shown by [...] Read more.
Faces showing expressions of happiness or anger were presented together with sentences that described happiness-inducing or anger-inducing situations. Two main variables were manipulated: (i) congruency between contexts and expressions (congruent/incongruent) and (ii) the task assigned to the participant, discriminating the emotion shown by the target face (emotion task) or judging whether the expression shown by the face was congruent or not with the context (congruency task). Behavioral and electrophysiological results (event-related potentials (ERP)) showed that processing facial expressions was jointly influenced by congruency and task demands. ERP results revealed task effects at frontal sites, with larger positive amplitudes between 250–450 ms in the congruency task, reflecting the higher cognitive effort required by this task. Effects of congruency appeared at latencies and locations corresponding to the early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive potential (LPP) components that have previously been found to be sensitive to emotion and affective congruency. The magnitude and spatial distribution of the congruency effects varied depending on the task and the target expression. These results are discussed in terms of the modulatory role of context on facial expression processing and the different mechanisms underlying the processing of expressions of positive and negative emotions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
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Open AccessArticle
The Motivational Power of the Happy Face
Brain Sci. 2019, 9(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci9010006 - 07 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
People who are cheerful have better social relationships. This might be the case because happy faces communicate an invitation to interact. Thus, happy faces might have a strong motivational effect on others. We tested this hypothesis in a set of four studies. Study [...] Read more.
People who are cheerful have better social relationships. This might be the case because happy faces communicate an invitation to interact. Thus, happy faces might have a strong motivational effect on others. We tested this hypothesis in a set of four studies. Study 1 (N = 94) showed that approach reactions to happy faces are faster than other reactions to happy or angry faces. Study 2 (N = 99) found the same effect when comparing reactions to happy faces with reactions to disgusted faces. Supporting the notion that this effect is related to motivation, habitual social approach motivation intensified the motivational effect of happy faces (Study 3, N = 82). Finally, Study 4 (N = 40) showed that the reaction-time asymmetry does not hold for categorization tasks without approach and avoidance movements. These studies demonstrate that happy faces have a strong motivational power. They seem to activate approach reactions more strongly than angry or disgusted faces activate avoidance reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Perceptual and Affective Mechanisms in Facial Expression Recognition)
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