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      Rapid perceptual integration of facial expression and emotional body language.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Visual Perception, Adolescent, Adult, Electroencephalography, Emotions, Evoked Potentials, Facial Expression, Female, Humans, Kinesics, Male

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          Abstract

          In our natural world, a face is usually encountered not as an isolated object but as an integrated part of a whole body. The face and the body both normally contribute in conveying the emotional state of the individual. Here we show that observers judging a facial expression are strongly influenced by emotional body language. Photographs of fearful and angry faces and bodies were used to create face-body compound images, with either matched or mismatched emotional expressions. When face and body convey conflicting emotional information, judgment of facial expression is hampered and becomes biased toward the emotion expressed by the body. Electrical brain activity was recorded from the scalp while subjects attended to the face and judged its emotional expression. An enhancement of the occipital P1 component as early as 115 ms after presentation onset points to the existence of a rapid neural mechanism sensitive to the degree of agreement between simultaneously presented facial and bodily emotional expressions, even when the latter are unattended.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          16260734
          1283446
          10.1073/pnas.0507650102

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