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Facial width-to-height ratio as a cue of threat: An ERP study
University of Skövde, School of Bioscience.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The late positive potential (LPP) is an event-related potential (ERP) component associated with increased affective processing. Studies have shown that stimuli with high evolutionary significance (e.g. a threatening face) induce increased activity over centro-parietal areas of the brain. In an electrophysiological context, this is hypothesized to be indexed by greater LPP amplitudes. The facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) is a facial-masculinity metric which refers to cheekbone width, divided by upper facial height (top of the lip to between the brows). For the first time, LPP amplitudes were examined in subjects upon observing faces with high vs. low facial fWHRs. Prior studies suggest that faces with high fWHRs are perceived as more threatening than faces with low fWHRs. Consequently, fWHR has by some researchers been proposed to serve as a cue of threat. Two separate tasks in the present study were used to investigate this. In the aggression task, males with high fWHRs were judged as more aggressive. Moreover, when put in a threatening context, high fWHR faces also elicited greater LPP amplitudes in subjects compared to faces with low fWHRs. Conversely, in the self-regulation task, differences in LPP amplitudes did not reach significance. In this task, statistical power was low due to few blocks/trials in the ERP experiment and subjects were not primed on threat, which may explain the non-significant results. Taken together, the results provide modest support to the theory that fWHR serve as a cue of threat. Future studies will need to take the present study’s limitations into consideration

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 53
Keywords [en]
Facial width-to height ratio, late positive potential, fWHR as cue of threat, facial masculinity, sexual-selection
National Category
Other Biological Topics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:his:diva-15570OAI: oai:DiVA.org:his-15570DiVA, id: diva2:1218148
Subject / course
Cognitive Neuroscience
Educational program
Cognitive Neuroscience: Mind, Brain and Wellbeing - Master’s Programme
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-14 Created: 2018-06-14 Last updated: 2018-08-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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