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Suppression durations for facial expressions under breaking continuous flash suppression: effects of faces’ low-level image properties

Webb, Abigail LM and Hibbard, Paul B (2020) 'Suppression durations for facial expressions under breaking continuous flash suppression: effects of faces’ low-level image properties.' Scientific Reports, 10 (1). 17427-. ISSN 2045-2322

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Perceptual biases for fearful facial expressions are observed across many studies. According to the low-level, visual-based account of these biases, fear expressions are advantaged in some way due to their image properties, such as low spatial frequency content. However, there is a degree of empirical disagreement regarding the range of spatial frequency information responsible for perceptual biases. Breaking continuous flash suppression (b. CFS) has explored these effects, showing similar biases for detecting fearful facial expressions. Recent findings from a b. CFS study highlight the role of high, rather than low spatial frequency content in determining faces’ visibility. The present study contributes to ongoing discussions regarding the efficacy of b. CFS, and shows that the visibility of facial expressions vary according to how they are normalised for physical contrast and spatially filtered. Findings show that physical contrast normalisation facilitates fear’s detectability under b. CFS more than when normalised for apparent contrast, and that this effect is most pronounced when faces are high frequency filtered. Moreover, normalising faces’ perceived contrast does not guarantee equality between expressions’ visibility under b. CFS. Findings have important implications for the use of contrast normalisation, particularly regarding the extent to which contrast normalisation facilitates fear bias effects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Facial Expression; Fear; Female; Humans; Male; Photic Stimulation; Visual Perception
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2020 11:15
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:18

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