Putting the face in context: Body expressions impact facial emotion processing in human infants

Purva Rajhans*, Sarah Jessen, Manuela Missana, Tobias Grossmann

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit
5 Zitate (Scopus)


Body expressions exert strong contextual effects on facial emotion perception in adults. Specifically, conflicting body cues hamper the recognition of emotion from faces, as evident on both the behavioral and neural level. We examined the developmental origins of the neural processes involved in emotion perception across body and face in 8-month-old infants by measuring event-related brain potentials (ERPs). We primed infants with body postures (fearful, happy) that were followed by either congruent or incongruent facial expressions. Our results revealed that body expressions impact facial emotion processing and that incongruent body cues impair the neural discrimination of emotional facial expressions. Priming effects were associated with attentional and recognition memory processes, as reflected in a modulation of the Nc and Pc evoked at anterior electrodes. These findings demonstrate that 8-month-old infants possess neural mechanisms that allow for the integration of emotion across body and face, providing evidence for the early developmental emergence of context-sensitive facial emotion perception.

ZeitschriftDevelopmental Cognitive Neuroscience
Seiten (von - bis)115-121
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.06.2016


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