Effect of aversive learning on discrimination of faces

In her Msc thesis, Lea Kampermann shows that humans can perceptually discriminate faces better, when these are paired with an aversive outcome. This effect was specific to the face, which was paired with an aversive outcome and was not observed for the one which was kept neutral throughout the experiment. Furthermore the effect was strongest when these faces were presented at shorter durations (~.6 s) allowing participants to make no more than two fixations per trial.

Her thesis contains also a detailed account on the methodology for generating face-stimuli that are perceptually calibrated to form a two-dimensional similarity gradient with equal perceptual steps between faces. The methodology is an extension of work from Yue et al. (Vision Research, 2012). If you wish to use these stimuli for your experiment they are available upon request.

Perceptually calibrated set of faces according to a simple primary visual cortex forming a circular similarity gradient. Details on their production can be read in Msc Thesis of Lea (please contact any of us for a pdf) .