Time course and specificity of event-related potentials to emotional expressions

Victoria Ashley, Patrik Vuilleumier, Diane Swick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


To clarify the time course of neural responses to faces with different emotional expressions, we used event-related potential (ERP) and reaction time measures. Faces expressing four different emotions (happy, neutral, fearful, disgusted) and houses were shown in both upright and inverted orientations while subjects performed an immediate-repeats task. Results indicated that upright fearful expressions enhanced the frontocentral P200. However, emotional effects on the N170 and late positive component interacted with face orientation and were not selective for any specific expression. A unique negative component for upright disgust faces was observed at ∼300 ms at occipital regions. These results provide evidence for emotion-specific ERPs associated with fear and disgust, distinct from other non-specific configurational and attentional effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-216
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Emotion
  • Event-related potentials
  • Faces
  • Facial expressions
  • Inversion
  • LPC
  • N170
  • P200

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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