Emotional action aftereffects indicate dual emotion coding mechanisms

Joanna Wincenciak, Jennifer Ingham, Tjeerd Jellema, Nick Barraclough

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Face aftereffects suggest partially independent coding of facial expressions and facial identity (Fox & Barton, 2007, Brain Research, 1127(1), 80-89). Bodily actions can also convey actor identity and emotional state. We investigated the mechanisms involved in recognising emotions from whole body actions using a visual adaptation paradigm. Following adaptation to actions performed in either a happy or sad fashion participants interpreted subsequent actions performed in a neutral fashion as portraying the opposite emotion. Emotional action aftereffects were stronger when the identity of the actor in the adapting and test stimuli was the same, than when it was different. Both identity dependent and identity independent emotional action aftereffects increased with the duration of the adapting stimuli. However, the different identity aftereffect quickly decayed over time, while the same identity aftereffect had still not decayed after 10.8 sec. These findings suggest that adapting to emotional actions influences 2 separate mechanisms. Following adaptation, an identity independent emotional action coding mechanism shows visual aftereffects with dynamics similar to other high-level aftereffects. A second identity dependent emotional action coding mechanism, however, shows different adaptation dynamics, where adaptation results in a long lasting recalibration of the perceived emotion derived from the actions of the observed individual.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEuropean Conference on Visual Perception 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventEuropean Conference on Visual Perception 2012 - Alghero, Italy
Duration: 2 Sept 20126 Sept 2012


ConferenceEuropean Conference on Visual Perception 2012

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