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Current status of the anger superiority hypothesis: A meta-analytic review of N2pc studies
Liu,Yanci1; Wang,Yang2; Gozli,Davood G.3; Xiang,Yu Tao4; Jackson,Todd3
Source PublicationPsychophysiology

Numerous investigators have tested contentions that angry faces capture early attention more completely than happy faces do in the context of other faces. However, syntheses of studies on early event-related potentials related to the anger superiority hypothesis have yet to be conducted, particularly in relation to the N200 posterior-contralateral (N2pc) component which provides a reliable electrophysiological index related to orienting of attention suitable for testing this hypothesis. Fifteen samples (N = 534) from 13 studies featuring the assessment of N2pc amplitudes during exposure to angry-neutral and/or happy-neutral facial expression arrays were included for meta-analysis. Moderating effects of study design features and sample characteristics on effect size variability were also assessed. N2pc amplitudes elicited by affectively valenced expressions (angry and happy) were significantly more pronounced than those elicited by neutral expressions. However, the mean effect size difference between angry and happy expressions was ns. N2pc effect sizes were moderated by sample age, number of trials, and nature of facial images used (schematic vs. real) with larger effect sizes observed when samples were comparatively younger, more task trials were presented and schematic face arrays were used. N2pc results did not support anger superiority hypothesis. Instead, attentional resources allocated to angry versus happy facial expressions were similar in early stages of processing. As such, possible adaptive advantages of biases in orienting toward both anger and happy expressions warrant consideration in revisions of related theory.

KeywordAnger Superiority Effect Emotional Expressions Meta-analysis N2pc Component
URLView the original
Indexed BySCIE ; SSCI
WOS Research AreaPsychology ; Neurosciences & Neurology ; Physiology
WOS SubjectPsychology, Biological ; Neurosciences ; Physiology ; Psychology ; Psychology, Experimental
WOS IDWOS:000576591400001
Scopus ID2-s2.0-85092402365
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Cited Times [WOS]:2   [WOS Record]     [Related Records in WOS]
Document TypeJournal article
CollectionFaculty of Health Sciences
Corresponding AuthorJackson,Todd
Affiliation1.Key Laboratory of Cognition & Personality Southwest University,Chongqing,China
2.Department of Pain and Translational Symptom Science,School of Nursing,University of Maryland,Baltimore,United States
3.Department of Psychology,University of Macau,Taipa,Macao
4.Unit of Psychiatry,Institute of Translational Medicine,Faculty of Health Sciences,University of Macau,Taipa,Macao
Corresponding Author AffilicationUniversity of Macau
Recommended Citation
GB/T 7714
Liu,Yanci,Wang,Yang,Gozli,Davood G.,et al. Current status of the anger superiority hypothesis: A meta-analytic review of N2pc studies[J]. Psychophysiology,2021,58(1).
APA Liu,Yanci,Wang,Yang,Gozli,Davood G.,Xiang,Yu Tao,&Jackson,Todd.(2021).Current status of the anger superiority hypothesis: A meta-analytic review of N2pc studies.Psychophysiology,58(1).
MLA Liu,Yanci,et al."Current status of the anger superiority hypothesis: A meta-analytic review of N2pc studies".Psychophysiology 58.1(2021).
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