Effects of touch on emotional face processing: A study of event-related potentials, facial EMG and cardiac activity

Spapé, Michiel M. and Harjunen, Ville and Ravaja, Niklas (2017) Effects of touch on emotional face processing: A study of event-related potentials, facial EMG and cardiac activity. Biological Psychology. ISSN 0301-0511 (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Being touched is known to affect emotion, and even a casual touch can elicit positive feelings and affinity. Psychophysiological studies have recently shown that tactile primes affect visual evoked potentials to emotional stimuli, suggesting altered affective stimulus processing. As, however, these studies approached emotion from a purely unidimensional perspective, it remains unclear whether touch biases emotional evaluation or a more general feature such as salience. Here, we investigated how simple tactile primes modulate event related potentials (ERPs), facial EMG and cardiac response to pictures of facial expressions of emotion. All measures replicated known effects of emotional face processing: Disgust and fear modulated early ERPs, anger increased the cardiac orienting response, and expressions elicited emotion-congruent facial EMG activity. Tactile primes also affected these measures, but priming never interacted with the type of emotional expression. Thus, touch may additively affect general stimulus processing, but it does not bias or modulate immediate affective evaluation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Emotion, EEG, ERP, EMG, emotional faces, touch, non-verbal communication
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Michiel Spape
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2017 15:02
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2017 16:06
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/1818

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