Poster #: 31
Topic: Development (infancy, childhood, adolescence, and aging)
Wednesday, Sep 9, 2015
Pre-attentive neural processes of unattended facial emotions in adolescents
Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Adolescence is an essential period for the neurodevelopment of social-emotional abilities, and the pre-attentive change detection of facial expressions is crucial for adolescent’s social interpersonal communication. Two groups of participants (an adolescent group and an adult group) were employed with the emotional oddball task which contained one happy oddball condition (frequently presented neutral expressions [standard stimuli: probability of 0.8] were rarely replaced by happy expression [deviant stimuli: probability of 0.2]) and one fearful oddball condition (frequently presented neutral expressions [standard stimuli: probability of 0.8] were rarely replaced by fearful expression [deviant stimuli: probability of 0.2]). The event-related potential (ERP) technique was adopted to record participant’s electrophysiological activities, and the visual mismatch negativity (vMMN) components indexing the neural automatic change detection processes of facial expressions were compared between the two age groups. The vMMN differences between the age groups are regarded to reflect the differences of automatic change detection to affective information between these two groups. The electrophysiological results showed that adolescents had greater vMMN amplitudes than adults in the fearful condition, and the adolescent group showed larger vMMN amplitudes to fearful faces than that to happy faces during 120-200 ms. During 230-320 ms, there were no age group-related differences in vMMN responses between the two groups. The present study supported that adolescents had better automatic change detection to fearful faces relative to adults and shed light on the neurodevelopment of automatic processes on social-emotional information.