Since the human face has a great social/biological importance, the cognitive system should have a special capacity to prioritize facial expressions which signal potential threat (e.g., Fox et al., 2000; Hansen & Hansen, 1988). Regarding this superiority for threatening faces, we hypothesized that changes from neutral to angry faces will be detected faster than other emotional changes. Additionally we investigated the change detection performance for fearful/happy face expressions since some contradictory findings have been reported. Observer sex differences were also investigated. Real photographs were utilized to enhance ecological validity and perception of facial expressions was examined by using a flicker paradigm. The findings revealed that angry male faces attract more attention compared to the other male face expressions. However there was no angry face advantage for female faces: changes from neutral to angry/fearful/happy faces in female photographs are equally processed in attentional system.
KEYWORDS: change detection, emotional expressions, sex differences