The body as a tool for anger awareness - Differential effects of angry facial and bodily expressions on suppression from awareness


Emotional signals are perceived whether or not we are aware of it. The evidence so far mostly came from studies with facial expressions. Here, we investigated whether the pattern of non-conscious face expression perception is found for whole body expressions. Continuous flash suppression (CFS) was used to measure the time for neutral, fearful, and angry facial or bodily expressions to break from suppression. We observed different suppression time patterns for emotions depending on whether the stimuli were faces or bodies. The suppression time for anger was shortest for bodily expressions, but longest for the facial expressions. This pattern indicates different processing and detection mechanisms for faces and bodies outside awareness, and suggests that awareness mechanisms associated with dorsal structures might play a role in becoming conscious of angry bodily expressions.