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ERP and behavioral evidence of increased sensory attenuation for fear-related action outcomes

Hughes, Gethin (2015) 'ERP and behavioral evidence of increased sensory attenuation for fear-related action outcomes.' Biological Psychology, 111. pp. 8-13. ISSN 0301-0511

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Voluntary action selection entails the representation of the expected consequences of the action. Previous evidence suggests that accurate action-effect prediction modulates both ERP and behavioral markers of sensory processing-a phenomenon know as sensory attenuation. This may play an important role in monitoring the success or failure of our actions, or attributing agency. Nonetheless, the vast majority of studies in this domain focus on simplistic visual and auditory stimuli. Given that we rarely perform voluntary actions with the aim of generating such stimuli in social contexts, this provides little indication of the extent to which sensory attenuation operates in everyday behavior. The present study investigated ERP and behavioral measures of sensory attenuation for fearful and neutral facial expressions. Participants were trained to associate one voluntary action with the presentation of a fearful face, and another action with a neutral face. We measured both ERP responses and behavioral ratings following presentation of faces whose emotional content was either consistent or inconsistent with the action prediction. We observed significant modulation for fearful outcomes only, suggesting that sensory attenuation is heightened to stimuli of high social relevance. The N170 response was significantly attenuated for congruent fearful faces, but not for congruent neutral faces (in comparison to incongruent faces). Similarly, behavioral ratings were modulated only for fearful faces but not neutral faces. This provides new insight into how social and affective outcomes modulate sensory attenuation and may have implications for implicit sense of agency for socially relevant stimuli.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Agency; Sensory attenuation; Motor prediction; Event related potentials; Face processing
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2015 12:36
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:26

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