Emotional processing that occurs partially in advance of perceptual processing is known as pre-perceptual emotional processing. The facilitation of sensory processing due to pre-perceptual emotional processing can be observed in visual search and attentional blink tasks. However, previous event-related potential studies have suggested that pre-perceptual emotional processing affects the lower-order range of sensory processing, which differs from the processing involved in visual search and attentional blink tasks. Therefore, we investigated the facilitation of earlier visual processing due to pre-perceptual emotional processing using simple geometric shapes. We found that the target detection sensitivity for a negative emotional stimulus was higher than that for a neutral stimulus. Moreover, this higher sensitivity was not attributed to attentional bias within the visual field or to object novelty. These results suggest that negative emotion induced by simple geometric shapes facilitates visual target detection due to pre-perceptual emotional processing. Furthermore, it was suggested that the facilitation of visual perception by pre-perceptual processing occurs at various stages, from early to later stage.
ASJC Scopus subject areas