ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


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  1. 1. 宁波大学
    2. 中国科学技术大学人文与社会科学学院
    3. 深圳大学
  • 收稿日期:2020-11-05 修回日期:2021-06-13 出版日期:2021-08-27 发布日期:2021-08-27
  • 通讯作者: 徐强
  • 基金资助:

The Emotional Bias of Trait Anxiety on Pre-attentive Processing of Facial Expressions: An ERP Investigation

  • Received:2020-11-05 Revised:2021-06-13 Online:2021-08-27 Published:2021-08-27

摘要: 高特质焦虑者在注意聚焦状态下对情绪刺激的加工偏向已得到研究证实,然而,在前注意阶段,高特质焦虑者的对情绪面孔的加工偏向是否存在及其表现如何目前尚不清楚。本研究采用偏差—标准反转oddball范式探讨了特质性焦虑对面部表情前注意加工阶段的影响。结果发现:对于低特质焦虑组,悲伤面孔所诱发的早期EMMN显著大于快乐面孔,而对于高特质焦虑组,快乐和悲伤面孔所诱发的早期EMMN差异不显著。并且,高特质焦虑组的快乐面孔EMMN波幅显著大于低特质焦虑组。结果表明,人格特质是影响面部表情注意前加工的重要因素,高特质焦虑者在前注意阶段出现对积极和消极情绪信息的普遍加工偏向。

关键词: 特质焦虑, 前注意加工, 面部表情, EMMN

Abstract: Facial expressions are an important means for expression of feelings as well as perception of others’ psychological activities. Hence, facial expressions are one of the main mediums of emotional communication. Previous studies found that factors such as gender, age, and personality traits also affected the perception of facial expressions. For instance, individuals with elevated level of trait anxiety, which is measure of frequency and intensity of occurrence of anxiety related symptoms, show attentional bias towards emotional stimuli, that is, higher attention to emotional information such as facial expressions. In addition, as these studies mostly focused on attentional processing, it is not clear whether trait anxiety can also affect possessing of facial expressions in the pre-attentive processing stage. Pre-attentive processing refers to the automatic evaluation of whether attention is needed for the stimulus, which results in filtering out irrelevant information, which can save cognitive resources and increase efficiency of information processing. Therefore, in the present study, the effects of trait anxiety on pre-attentive processing of facial expressions were explored, which can provide valuable information about emotional processing mechanism as well as observed emotional bias in individuals with elevated levels of trait anxiety. According to the scores of Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety inventory (STAI), 20 participants who scored in the top 27% were assigned to the high trait anxiety group (13 women; mean age=19.02 ± 0.63 years) and 20 participants who scored in the bottom 27% in the low trait anxiety group (11 women; mean age=19.63 ± 0.88 years) were as assigned to the low trait anxiety group. The stimuli used in the experiment were happy, sad and neutral face pictures selected from the Chinese Facial Affective Picture System (CAFPS; Gong et al., 2011) including 10 pictures (5 females and 5 males) of each kind of emotion. The deviant-standard-reverse oddball paradigm included 4 types of facial expression sequences: neutral standard stimuli/happy deviant stimuli, happy standard stimuli/neutral deviant stimuli; neutral standard stimuli/sad deviant stimuli, and sad standard stimuli/neutral deviant stimuli. The standard stimuli mean that this type of stimuli were appeared about 80% of the time in the sequence, and the deviant stimuli were about 20%. Participants were instructed to detect unpredictable changes in the size of fixation cross in the center of visual field and press a corresponding button as fast and as accurate as possible, and ignored the emotional faces The amplitudes of N170 elicited by deviant faces were significantly larger than standard faces. Importantly, in the early EMMN, the mean amplitude for sad facial expressions was significantly larger than happy facial expressions in low trait anxiety group, but there was no significant difference between happy and sad facial expressions in high trait anxiety group. We observed an similar amplification of EMMN amplitude for both happy and sad faces in the high trait anxiety. Our results show that there is a difference between high and low trait anxiety in the pre-attentive processing of facial expression. Further, the participants with high trait anxiety also had a bias to happy expressions. These results supported the hypothesis that high trait anxiety has emotional bias, not only toward negative emotional information but also positive emotional information such as happy, and it could occur in the pre-attentive processing stage.

Key words: trait anxiety, pre-attentive processing, facial expressions, EMMN