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Automatic detection of trustworthiness of the face: A visual mismatch negativity study


Kovács-Bálint, Z; Stefanics, G; Trunk, A; Hernádi, I (2014). Automatic detection of trustworthiness of the face: A visual mismatch negativity study. Acta biologica Hungarica, 65(1):1-12.

Abstract

Recognizing intentions of strangers from facial cues is crucial in everyday social interactions. Recent studies demonstrated enhanced event-related potential (ERP) responses to untrustworthy compared to trustworthy faces. The aim of the present study was to investigate the electrophysiological correlates of automatic processing of trustworthiness cues in a visual oddball paradigm in two consecutive experimental blocks. In one block, frequent trustworthy (p = 0.9) and rare untrustworthy face stimuli (p = 0.1) were briefly presented on a computer screen with each stimulus consisting of four peripherally positioned faces. In the other block stimuli were presented with reversed probabilities enabling the comparison of ERPs evoked by physically identical deviant and standard stimuli. To avoid attentional effects participants engaged in a central detection task. Analyses of deviant minus standard difference waveforms revealed that deviant untrustworthy but not trustworthy faces elicited the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) component. The present results indicate that adaptation occurred to repeated unattended trustworthy (but not untrustworthy) faces, i.e., an automatic expectation was elicited towards trustworthiness signals, which was violated by deviant untrustworthy faces. As an evolutionary adaptive mechanism, the observed fast detection of trustworthiness-related social facial cues may serve as the basis of conscious recognition of reliable partners.

Abstract

Recognizing intentions of strangers from facial cues is crucial in everyday social interactions. Recent studies demonstrated enhanced event-related potential (ERP) responses to untrustworthy compared to trustworthy faces. The aim of the present study was to investigate the electrophysiological correlates of automatic processing of trustworthiness cues in a visual oddball paradigm in two consecutive experimental blocks. In one block, frequent trustworthy (p = 0.9) and rare untrustworthy face stimuli (p = 0.1) were briefly presented on a computer screen with each stimulus consisting of four peripherally positioned faces. In the other block stimuli were presented with reversed probabilities enabling the comparison of ERPs evoked by physically identical deviant and standard stimuli. To avoid attentional effects participants engaged in a central detection task. Analyses of deviant minus standard difference waveforms revealed that deviant untrustworthy but not trustworthy faces elicited the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) component. The present results indicate that adaptation occurred to repeated unattended trustworthy (but not untrustworthy) faces, i.e., an automatic expectation was elicited towards trustworthiness signals, which was violated by deviant untrustworthy faces. As an evolutionary adaptive mechanism, the observed fast detection of trustworthiness-related social facial cues may serve as the basis of conscious recognition of reliable partners.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
3 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Trustworthiness, social perception, event-related potential (ERP), visual mismatch negativity (vMMN), pre-attentive processing
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:12 Dec 2014 08:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:38
Publisher:Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN:0236-5383
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1556/ABiol.65.2014.1.1

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