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The role of emotion in dynamic audiovisual integration of faces and voices


Kotz,  Sonja A.
Department Neuropsychology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, United Kingdom;

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Kokinous, J., Kotz, S. A., Tavano, A., & Schröger, E. (2015). The role of emotion in dynamic audiovisual integration of faces and voices. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(5), 713-720. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu105.

We used human electroencephalogram to study early audiovisual integration of dynamic angry and neutral expressions. An auditory-only condition served as a baseline for the interpretation of integration effects. In the audiovisual conditions, the validity of visual information was manipulated using facial expressions that were either emotionally congruent or incongruent with the vocal expressions. First, we report an N1 suppression effect for angry compared with neutral vocalizations in the auditory-only condition. Second, we confirm early integration of congruent visual and auditory information as indexed by a suppression of the auditory N1 and P2 components in the audiovisual compared with the auditory-only condition. Third, audiovisual N1 suppression was modulated by audiovisual congruency in interaction with emotion: for neutral vocalizations, there was N1 suppression in both the congruent and the incongruent audiovisual conditions. For angry vocalizations, there was N1 suppression only in the congruent but not in the incongruent condition. Extending previous findings of dynamic audiovisual integration, the current results suggest that audiovisual N1 suppression is congruency- and emotion-specific and indicate that dynamic emotional expressions compared with non-emotional expressions are preferentially processed in early audiovisual integration.