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Spatial frequencies and emotional perception


, : Spatial frequencies and emotional perception. Reviews in the Neurosciences 24(1): 89-104

It has been suggested that, during evolution, specific mechanisms developed in order to optimize the detection of threats and opportunities even in perceptually degraded conditions. A naturalistic example of perceptual degradation can be found in blurry images, which contain the coarsest elements of a scene (low spatial frequencies) but lack the fine-grained details (high spatial frequencies). In the past decade, several studies have examined the relation between spatial frequencies and emotions, using a variety of methods, stimuli, and rationales. Here, we conduct a literature survey on the studies that have examined the relation between emotion and spatial frequencies. Some studies have suggested that the low spatial frequencies of emotional stimuli may be processed by a subcortical neural pathway, eventually eliciting emotional responses. However, the evidence provided by the reviewed studies does not support this possibility, for conceptual and methodological reasons (e.g., mistaking the processing of a fuzzy stimulus for subcortical processing). Here, the conceptual and methodological problems present in the reviewed studies are analyzed and discussed, along with suggestions for future research.

US$19.90

PMID: 23183741

DOI: 10.1515/revneuro-2012-0053


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