A review of brain oscillations in perception of faces and emotional pictures


Neuropsychologia, vol.58, no.1, pp.33-51, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 58 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.03.014
  • Journal Name: Neuropsychologia
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.33-51
  • Keywords: Alpha, Beta, Delta, EEG, Emotion, Event-related oscillations, Evoked oscillations, Face, Face expression, Gamma, International affective picture system, Theta
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


The differentiation of faces, facial expressions and affective pictures involves processes of higher mental activity that have considerable applications in the psychology of moods and emotions. At present, the search for functional correlates of brain oscillations is an important trend in neuroscience. Furthermore, analyses of oscillatory responses provide key knowledge on the physiology of brain dynamics. Studies analysing oscillatory dynamics in face perception and emotional pictures have increased in recent years; however, the literature lacks a review of the current state of the art. This study provides a comprehensive review of the delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma oscillatory responses on presentation of faces, facial expressions and affective pictures (International Affective Picture System, IAPS). The reviewed literature revealed that the brain is more sensitive to emotional stimuli than neutral stimuli. A common and reliable finding from all reviewed studies was the increased brain responsiveness towards negative emotional pictures (face expression or IAPS). © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.