ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 85-97.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00085

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The automatic processing of changes in emotion: Implications from EMMN

DING Xiaobin1, LIU Jianyi1(), WANG Yapeng2(), KANG Tiejun1, DANG Chen1   

  1. 1 Key Laboratory of Behavioral and Mental Health of Gansu Province, School of Psychology, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    2 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2019-06-06 Online:2020-01-15 Published:2019-11-21
  • Contact: Jianyi LIU,Yapeng WANG;


How does the human brain automatically process changing emotional information? Based on the theory of mismatch negativity (MMN), which is generated from our auditory system, a new concept named expression mismatch negativity (EMMN) has been developed by researchers. EMMN is regarded as the index of pre-attentive processing. EMMN is primarily responsible for detecting the variation of information that contains emotional details, and this is where it differs from the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) that accounts for processing common visual information. Current review mainly discusses how EMMN differs in regard to different facial expression, gender, and fluid intelligence. We also focused on EMMN in aberrated populations such as autism, major depression, and schizophrenia. In addition, we sheds light on the mechanism of EMMN through a perspective based on the predictive-coding theory. In addition to further exploring the neural mechanism of EMMN, future studies should focus particularly on the application of EMMN in clinical diagnosis and therapy, as well as pay close attention to the feature of EMMN in different emotional cues.

Key words: facial expression, pre-attentive processing, mismatch negativity, N170, oddball paradigm

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