Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Spatial attention affects the early processing of neutral versus fearful faces when they are task-irrelevant: a classifier study of the EEG C1 component
Author(s): Acunzo, David
MacKenzie, Graham
van Rossum, Mark C W
Contact Email:
Keywords: Attention
C1 component
Facial expression
Issue Date: Feb-2019
Date Deposited: 6-Nov-2018
Citation: Acunzo D, MacKenzie G & van Rossum MCW (2019) Spatial attention affects the early processing of neutral versus fearful faces when they are task-irrelevant: a classifier study of the EEG C1 component. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 19 (1), pp. 123-137.
Abstract: EEG studies suggest that the emotional content of visual stimuli is processed rapidly. In particular, the C1 component, which occurs up to 100 ms after stimulus onset and likely reflects activity in primary visual cortex V1, has been reported to be sensitive to emotional faces. However, difficulties replicating these results have been reported. We hypothesized that the nature of the task and attentional condition are key to reconcile the conflicting findings. We report three experiments of EEG activity during the C1 time range elicited by peripherally presented neutral and fearful faces under various attentional conditions: the faces were spatially attended or unattended and were either task-relevant or not. Using traditional event-related potential analysis, we found that the early activity changed depending on facial expression, attentional condition, and task. In addition, we trained classifiers to discriminate the different conditions from the EEG signals. Although the classifiers were not able to discriminate between facial expressions in any condition, they uncovered differences between spatially attended and unattended faces but solely when these were task-irrelevant. In addition, this effect was only present for neutral faces. Our study provides further indication that attention and task are key parameters when measuring early differences between emotional and neutral visual stimuli.
DOI Link: 10.3758/s13415-018-00650-7
Rights: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. The final authenticated version is available online at:

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Acunzo MacKenzie and van Rossum 2018.pdfFulltext - Accepted Version837.98 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

The metadata of the records in the Repository are available under the CC0 public domain dedication: No Rights Reserved

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.