• Sweet Emotion: The Role of Odor-Induced Context in the Search Advantage for Happy Facial Expressions

      Damjanovic, Ljubica; Wilkinson, Heather; Lloyd, Julie; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2017-12-23)
      The current study investigated the extent to which the concurrent presentation of pleasant and unpleasant odors could modulate the perceptual saliency of happy facial expressions in an emotional visual search task. Whilst a search advantage for happy faces was found in the no odor and unpleasant odor conditions, it was abolished under the pleasant odor condition. Furthermore, phasic properties of visual search performance revealed the malleable nature of this happiness advantage. Specifically, attention towards happy faces was optimized at the start of the visual search task for participants presented with pleasant odors, but diminished towards the end. This pattern was reversed for participants in the unpleasant odor condition. These patterns occur through the emotion-inducing capacities of odors and highlight the circumstances in which top-down factors can override perceptually salient facial features in emotional visual search.