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Anger fosters action. Fast responses in a motor task involving approach movements toward angry faces and bodies.

de Valk JM, Wijnen JG, Kret ME - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: For this purpose, a new task was developed where participants were standing in front of a computer screen on which angry, fearful, and neutral faces and bodies were presented which they had to touch as quickly as possible.Results show that participants responded faster to angry than to neutral stimuli, regardless of the source (face or body).This study provides a novel and implicit method to directly test the speed of actions toward emotions from the whole body.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Efficiently responding to others' emotions, especially threatening expressions such as anger and fear, can have great survival value. Previous research has shown that humans have a bias toward threatening stimuli. Most of these studies focused on facial expressions, yet emotions are expressed by the whole body, and not just by the face. Body language contains a direct action component, and activates action preparation areas in the brain more than facial expressions. Hence, biases toward threat may be larger following threatening bodily expressions as compared to facial expressions. The current study investigated reaction times of movements directed toward emotional bodies and faces. For this purpose, a new task was developed where participants were standing in front of a computer screen on which angry, fearful, and neutral faces and bodies were presented which they had to touch as quickly as possible. Results show that participants responded faster to angry than to neutral stimuli, regardless of the source (face or body). No significant difference was observed between fearful and neutral stimuli, demonstrating that the threat bias was not related to the negativity of the stimulus, but likely to the directness of the threat in relation to the observer. Whereas fearful stimuli might signal an environmental threat that requires further exploration before action, angry expressions signal a direct threat to the observer, asking for immediate action. This study provides a novel and implicit method to directly test the speed of actions toward emotions from the whole body.

No MeSH data available.


Experimental Setup.
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Figure 1: Experimental Setup.

Mentions: After participants read the information brochure and signed the informed consent, they were given verbal instructions. In order to investigate the interference of bodily and facial expressions on the emotion task, angry, fearful, and neutral face or body expressions were randomly presented with Presentation software (Neurobehavioral Systems, San Francisco, CA, USA). Participants were asked to stand behind the touch screen (Figure 1). The distance between the participants and touch screen was 50 cm, a distance at which all participants could comfortably touch the screen. They were instructed to press the red dot that appeared on the screen to start the trial and to subsequently press the appearing image as quickly as possible.


Anger fosters action. Fast responses in a motor task involving approach movements toward angry faces and bodies.

de Valk JM, Wijnen JG, Kret ME - Front Psychol (2015)

Experimental Setup.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4558974&req=5

Figure 1: Experimental Setup.
Mentions: After participants read the information brochure and signed the informed consent, they were given verbal instructions. In order to investigate the interference of bodily and facial expressions on the emotion task, angry, fearful, and neutral face or body expressions were randomly presented with Presentation software (Neurobehavioral Systems, San Francisco, CA, USA). Participants were asked to stand behind the touch screen (Figure 1). The distance between the participants and touch screen was 50 cm, a distance at which all participants could comfortably touch the screen. They were instructed to press the red dot that appeared on the screen to start the trial and to subsequently press the appearing image as quickly as possible.

Bottom Line: For this purpose, a new task was developed where participants were standing in front of a computer screen on which angry, fearful, and neutral faces and bodies were presented which they had to touch as quickly as possible.Results show that participants responded faster to angry than to neutral stimuli, regardless of the source (face or body).This study provides a novel and implicit method to directly test the speed of actions toward emotions from the whole body.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam , Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Efficiently responding to others' emotions, especially threatening expressions such as anger and fear, can have great survival value. Previous research has shown that humans have a bias toward threatening stimuli. Most of these studies focused on facial expressions, yet emotions are expressed by the whole body, and not just by the face. Body language contains a direct action component, and activates action preparation areas in the brain more than facial expressions. Hence, biases toward threat may be larger following threatening bodily expressions as compared to facial expressions. The current study investigated reaction times of movements directed toward emotional bodies and faces. For this purpose, a new task was developed where participants were standing in front of a computer screen on which angry, fearful, and neutral faces and bodies were presented which they had to touch as quickly as possible. Results show that participants responded faster to angry than to neutral stimuli, regardless of the source (face or body). No significant difference was observed between fearful and neutral stimuli, demonstrating that the threat bias was not related to the negativity of the stimulus, but likely to the directness of the threat in relation to the observer. Whereas fearful stimuli might signal an environmental threat that requires further exploration before action, angry expressions signal a direct threat to the observer, asking for immediate action. This study provides a novel and implicit method to directly test the speed of actions toward emotions from the whole body.

No MeSH data available.