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The effect of fearful faces on the attentional blink is task dependent


, : The effect of fearful faces on the attentional blink is task dependent. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 16(1): 104-109

In a set of three rapid serial visual presentation experiments, we investigated the effect of fearful and neutral face stimuli on the report of trailing scene targets. When the emotional expression of the face stimuli had to be indicated, fearful faces induced a stronger attentional blink (AB) than did neutral faces. However, with identical physical stimulation, the enhancement of the AB by fearful faces disappeared when participants had to judge the faces' gender. If faces did not have to be reported, no AB was observed. Thus, fearful faces exhibited an effect on the AB that crucially depended on the observer's attentional set. Hence, the AB can be influenced by an emotional T1 when T1 has to be reported, but this influence is modulated by task context. This result indicates a close connection between temporal attention and emotional processing that is modulated by task context.

US$19.90

PMID: 19145018

DOI: 10.3758/PBR.16.1.104


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