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Perceptual awareness and responses to fear and faces.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2006 (English)In: Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting: Champéry, Switzerland. 22-26 January, 2006., 2006Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Because evidence for subliminal perception of fearful faces is mixed, we used event-related fMRI (N = 29) to study activations of amygdala and fusiform gyrus to backward masked fearful, neutral, and scrambled target faces. Scrambled faces served as masks to isolate responses to fearful expressions (fearful vs. neutral) and faces (fearful and neutral vs. scrambled). To manipulate perceptual awareness, targets were masked at four durations (10, 20, 30, and 60 ms). During scanning, participants responded whether they detected a face. After scanning, participants performed objective tasks to measure their abilities in face detection and fear discrimination at the four target durations. Results showed that perceptual awareness varied substantially over target durations. Only left amygdala (MNI = -28, -4, -24) showed a main effect for fear across target durations. This response to fear was small and varied little over target durations, but was stronger for men and correlated with face detection. In contrast, regions in bilateral amygdala (-16, 2, -16; 28, -4, -18) and fusiform gyrus (-40, -60, -18; 38, -62, -16) showed a main effect for faces across target durations. This response to faces was large at 60 ms and dropped substantially at shorter durations. All regions showed this pattern. Results suggest that responses to fear and faces vary with perceptual awareness and that behavioral indexes of awareness are more sensitive than functional imaging.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
consciousness, fear, masking
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-21400OAI: diva2:187927
Available from: 2008-06-16 Created: 2008-06-16Bibliographically approved

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Wiens, Stefan
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