- The fearful-face advantage is modulated by task demands
- Evidence from the attentional blink
- Volume | Issue number
- 10 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Fearful faces receive privileged access to awareness relative to happy and nonemotional faces. We investigated whether this advantage depends on currently available attentional resources. In an attentional blink paradigm, observers detected faces presented during the attentional blink period that could depict either a fearful or a happy expression. Perceptual load of the blink-inducing target was manipulated by increasing flanker interference. For the low-load condition, fearful faces were detected more often than happy faces, replicating previous reports. More important, this advantage for fearful faces disappeared for the high-load condition, during which fearful and happy faces were detected equally often. These results suggest that the privileged access of fearful faces to awareness does not occur mandatorily, but instead depends on attentional resources.
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