(Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)
Social interaction and communication require a responsive ability to read others’ subtle emotional reactions, which affect subsequent cognitive activities such as up-down spatial attention. Even brief exposure to an emotionally expressive face can influence cognition, due to an affective priming effect. For instance, subliminal primes of facial expressions generate gross affective information such as a positive/negative category, influencing evaluations of unrelated novel objects. Given the interconnections between emotions and language, this study assesses the functional role of affective information in processing emotionally and spatially congruent/incongruent sentences when facial expressions are perceived consciously (Exp 1) or unconsciously (Exp 2).