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Are adaptation aftereffects for facial emotional expressions affected by prior knowledge about the emotion?

Wincenciak, Joanna; Palumbo, Letizia; Epihova, Gabriela; Barraclough, Nick E.; Jellema, Tjeerd


Joanna Wincenciak

Letizia Palumbo

Gabriela Epihova

Nick E. Barraclough


Accurate perception of the emotional signals conveyed by others is crucial for successful social interaction. Such perception is influenced not only by sensory input, but also by knowledge we have about the others’ emotions. This study addresses the issue of whether knowing that the other’s emotional state is congruent or incongruent with their displayed emotional expression (“genuine” and “fake”, respectively) affects the neural mechanisms underpinning the perception of their facial emotional expressions. We used a visual adaptation paradigm to investigate this question in three experiments employing increasing adaptation durations. The adapting stimuli consisted of photographs of emotional facial expressions of joy and anger, purported to reflect (in-)congruency between felt and expressed emotion, displayed by professional actors. A Validity checking procedure ensured participants had the correct knowledge about the (in-)congruency. Significantly smaller adaptation aftereffects were obtained when participants knew that the displayed expression was incongruent with the felt emotion, following all tested adaptation periods. This study shows that knowledge relating to the congruency between felt and expressed emotion modulates face expression aftereffects. We argue that this reflects that the neural substrate responsible for the perception of facial expressions of emotion incorporates the presumed felt emotion underpinning the expression.


Wincenciak, J., Palumbo, L., Epihova, G., Barraclough, N. E., & Jellema, T. (2022). Are adaptation aftereffects for facial emotional expressions affected by prior knowledge about the emotion?. Cognition and Emotion, 36(4), 602-615.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 31, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date May 15, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 16, 2022
Journal Cognition and Emotion
Print ISSN 0269-9931
Electronic ISSN 1464-0600
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 4
Pages 602-615
Keywords Visual adaptation; Prior knowledge; Facial expression; Genuine expressions; Faked expressions
Public URL


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