The present research was financially supported by grants from the Norwegian Council for Research in the Social Sciences, NAVF-RSF.
Hemispheric Asymmetry in Conditioning to Facial Emotional Expressions
Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
Volume 28, Issue 2, pages 154–162, March 1991
How to Cite
Johnsen, B. H. and Hugdahl, K. (1991), Hemispheric Asymmetry in Conditioning to Facial Emotional Expressions. Psychophysiology, 28: 154–162. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1991.tb00405.x
- Issue published online: 30 JAN 2007
- Article first published online: 30 JAN 2007
- (Manuscript received December 12, 1989; accepted for publication May 25, 1990)
- Facial conditioning;
- 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.