Processing of facial expressions of emotions in healthy volunteers

an exploration with event-related potentials and personality traits

H. Chai, W. Z. Chen, J. Zhu, Y. Xu, L. Lou, T. Yang, W. He, W. Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims of the study: Previous studies have shown that event-related potentials (ERPs) are modulated by anxiety or psychopathic personality traits. Therefore, we hypothesized that the automatic processing of facial expressions of emotions (FEE) is also correlated with related disordered personality traits. Methods: Thirty-seven healthy volunteers underwent both an "oddball" ERP recording to facial expressions of Anger, Happiness, Sadness, and Neutral, and a test of the Dimensional Assessment of Personality Pathology (DAPP). Results: Mean reaction time was longer in response to anger than to other facial expressions. Facial expressions of Anger, Happiness and Sadness did not affect N1 (N170). By contrast, Happiness elicited a delayed P2, Anger elicited both a smaller N2 and a delayed P3b, and both Happiness and Anger elicited a P3b of higher amplitude. In addition, P3a latencies to Happiness were negatively correlated with DAPP Identity problems, and P3b latencies to Happiness were negatively correlated with DAPP Stimulus seeking, Callousness, Passive aggressivity, and Narcissism. Conclusion: Our study demonstrates that Anger implicitly captures attentional resources, and Happiness triggers more facilitated processing in individuals with dissocial traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalNeurophysiologie Clinique
Volume42
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • anger
  • cognitive neuropsychiatry
  • dissocial trait
  • event-related potentials
  • facial expression of emotion
  • happiness

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