Social hierarchies and emotions: Cortical prefrontal activity, facial feedback (EMG), and cognitive performance in a dynamic interaction

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28 Citazioni (Scopus)

Abstract

In the present research, we manipulated the perceived superior/inferior status during a competitive cognitive task. In two experiments, we created an explicit and strongly reinforced social hierarchy based on incidental rating on an attentional task. Based on our hypotheses, social rank may influence nonverbal cues (such as facial mimic related to emotional response), cortical lateralized activity in frontal areas (brain oscillations), and cognitive outcomes in response to rank modulation. Thus, the facial mimic (corrugators vs. zygomatic muscle activity), frequency bands (delta, theta, alpha, beta), and real cognitive performance [(error rate (ER); response times (RTs)] were considered. Specifically, a peer-group comparison was enrolled and an improved (experiment 1, N = 29) or decreased (experiment 2, N = 31) performance was artificially manipulated by the experimenter. Results showed a significant improved cognitive performance (decreased ER and RTs), an increased zygomatic activity (positive emotions), and a more prefrontal left-lateralized cortical response in the case of a perceived increased social ranking. On the contrary, a significant decreased cognitive performance (increased ER and RTs), an increased corrugators activity (negative emotions), and a less left-lateralized cortical response were observed as a consequence of a perceived decreased social ranking. Moreover, the correlational values revealed a consistent trend between behavioral (RTs) and EMG and EEG measures for both experiments. The present results suggest that social status not only guides social behavior, but it also influences cognitive processes and subjects’ performance.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)166-178
Numero di pagine13
RivistaSocial Neuroscience
Volume10
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2015

Keywords

  • Brain oscillations
  • Cognitive performence
  • EEG
  • EMG
  • Emotions
  • Social ranking
  • nonverbal behavior

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