• Facial conditioning;
  • Asymmetry;
  • Visual Half Field technique;
  • Emotional expressions;
  • Skin conductance


In the present experiment, we report a right hemisphere advantage for autonomic conditioning to facial emotional expressions. Specifically, angry, but not happy, facial expressions showed significantly more resistance to extinction when presented initially to the right as compared to the left hemisphere. Slides of happy and angry faces were used as conditioned stimuli (CS+ and CS−) with shock as the unconditioned stimulus (UCS). Half of the subjects (n=15) had the angry face as CS+ (and the happy face as CS−), the other half had the happy face as CS+ (and the angry face as CS−). During acquisition, the CSs were presented foveally. During extinction, using the Visual Half-Field (VHF) technique, half of the CS+ and CS− trials were randomly presented in the right visual half-field (initially to the left hemisphere), and half of the trials were presented in the left half-field (initially to the right hemisphere). Stimuli were presented for 210 ms during acquisition, and for 30 ms during extinction. Bilateral skin conductance responses (SCRs) were recorded. The results showed effects of acquisition only for the angry CS+ group. During extinction, there was a significant Conditioning X Half-field interaction which was due to greater SCRs to the CS+ angry face when it was presented in the left half-field. It is concluded that the present results reveal hemisphere asymmetry effects in facial emotional conditioning.