Clarifying the effect of facial emotional expression on inattentional blindness

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Conscious perception often fails when an object appears unexpectedly and our attention is focused elsewhere (inattentional blindness). While various factors have been identified that modulate the likelihood of this failure of awareness, the semantic value of facial emotional expression of the unexpected stimulus is not clear. A total of 457 participants performed a static or a dynamic inattentional blindness paradigm with one of three face icons as the unexpected stimulus. Whereas we only found an effect of frowning faceś semantic value on its conscious detection in the static paradigm, we found in both paradigms a substantial effect of frowning as well as happy faceś semantic value on their conscious identification. Thus, we assume that the semantic value of unexpected stimuli, based on facial emotional expressions, controls attentional prioritization and influences inattentional blindness. Furthermore, we argue that every finding in inattentional blindness research should be considered in its respective context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103304
JournalConsciousness and cognition
Publication statusPublished - 04.2022

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