A reversal of the search asymmetry favouring negative schematic faces

Horstmann, Gernot, Becker, Stefanie I., Bergmann, Steffi and Burghaus, Ludger (2010) A reversal of the search asymmetry favouring negative schematic faces. Visual Cognition, 18 7: 981-1016. doi:10.1080/13506280903435709

Author Horstmann, Gernot
Becker, Stefanie I.
Bergmann, Steffi
Burghaus, Ludger
Title A reversal of the search asymmetry favouring negative schematic faces
Journal name Visual Cognition   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1350-6285
Publication date 2010-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13506280903435709
Volume 18
Issue 7
Start page 981
End page 1016
Total pages 36
Editor John M. Henderson
Place of publication Hove, U.K.
Publisher Psychology Press
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Quite a number of studies have tested whether the affective valence of stimuli can guide attention in visual search. Studies using schematic affective faces frequently found a relative search asymmetry (RSA), with more efficient search for a negative face in a friendly crowd than vice versa. Whether, however, this effect relates to differences in affect or to the confounded differences in perceptual features is unknown. The present study proposes and tests a similarity-based account for the RSA. Experiments 1a and 1b first replicate the typical RSA. Experiment 2 shows that the stimulus could be simplified to some degree without losing the RSA. Experiments 3 and 4, finally, demonstrate that the RSA could be reversed by a rather simple stimulus change, that leaves the facial expression intact. It is concluded that the strong dependence of the RSA on stimulus factors seriously questions the claim that emotional factors drive the RSA.
© 2010 Psychology Press.
Keyword Attention
Visual search
Driven attentional capture
Top-down contingent
Facial expressions
Emotional faces
Color singleton
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 16 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 01 Aug 2010, 00:00:07 EST