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The University of Southampton

Research project: Emotional face processing without awareness

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We are particularly efficient at detecting threat in our environment. Emotional facial expressions can indicate the presence of potential threat. We investigate how the visual system processes emotional stimuli, in the absence of conscious awareness.

In a number of different studies we ask whether emotional face stimuli are processed in different, and more efficient ways than other visual stimuli. We ask what features of emotional faces make them particularly salient to the human visual system. In particular we ask to what extent we can process facial expressions (e.g. happy, fearful and angry faces) without being aware of them.

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