Publications by authors named "Stephanie S A H Blom"

7 Publications

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Facial emotion detection in Vestibular Schwannoma patients with and without facial paresis.

Soc Neurosci 2021 Jun 15;16(3):317-326. Epub 2021 Apr 15.

Department of Psychology, Utrecht University & at the William James Center for Research, ISPA, Instituto Universitário, Lisbon, Portugal.

This study investigates whether there exist differences in facial emotion detection accuracy in patients suffering from Vestibular Schwannoma (VS) due to their facial paresis. Forty-four VS patients, half of them with, and half of them without a facial paresis, had to classify pictures of facial expressions as being emotional or non-emotional. The visual information of images was systematically manipulated by adding different levels of visual noise. The study had a mixed design with emotional expression (happy vs. angry) and visual noise level (10% to 80%) as repeated measures and facial paresis (present vs. absent) and degree of facial dysfunction as between subjects' factors. Emotion detection accuracy declined when visual information declined, an effect that was stronger for anger than for happy expressions. Overall, emotion detection accuracy for happy and angry faces did not differ between VS patients with or without a facial paresis, although exploratory analyses suggest that the ability to recognize emotions in angry facial expressions was slightly more impaired in patients with facial paresis. The findings are discussed in the context of the effects of facial paresis on emotion detection, and the role of facial mimicry, in particular, as an important mechanism for facial emotion processing and understanding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2021.1909127DOI Listing
June 2021

Under pressure: Nudging increases healthy food choice in a virtual reality supermarket, irrespective of system 1 reasoning.

Appetite 2021 05 12;160:105116. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Department of Social, Health & Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Previous research has shown that nudging can effectively support people's healthy food choices. Yet, to date knowledge about the psychological premises of nudging is limited, highlighting the need for closer scrutiny to determine how and when nudging is most effective. In the current study, we assessed whether the presumed effect of nudging on healthy food choice is enhanced under time pressure, a condition probing alleged system 1 reasoning. Food choice was studied in a realistic virtual reality supermarket where healthier alternatives were nudged by making them more salient. We additionally explored possible differences in decision-making experiences related to nudging or time pressure. The study took place at a science festival where visitors could decide to participate in a study. Participants (n = 99) had to purchase four products, each from a different product category that was provided on a shopping list. In the nudging condition, one healthier option within each product category was nudged by making it more salient. While a main effect of nudging was found, showing in increased healthy food choices, this effect was not further qualified by time pressure, suggesting that the effectiveness of nudging is not enhanced under system 1 conditions. Relatedly, people who were and who were not aware of the nudges showed similar effects of nudging on healthy food choice. Furthermore, no differences in decision-making experiences showed, suggesting that people have similar experiences regarding impulsive and reflective decision-making irrespective of whether they are being nudged or put under time pressure. All in all, our findings are in line with recent viewpoints on the premises of nudges, suggesting that alleged system 1 conditions are not a prerequisite for nudging to be effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2021.105116DOI Listing
May 2021

Perceiving emotions in visual stimuli: social verbal context facilitates emotion detection of words but not of faces.

Exp Brain Res 2021 Feb 18;239(2):413-423. Epub 2020 Nov 18.

Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Building on the notion that processing of emotional stimuli is sensitive to context, in two experimental tasks we explored whether the detection of emotion in emotional words (task 1) and facial expressions (task 2) is facilitated by social verbal context. Three different levels of contextual supporting information were compared, namely (1) no information, (2) the verbal expression of an emotionally matched word pronounced with a neutral intonation, and (3) the verbal expression of an emotionally matched word pronounced with emotionally matched intonation. We found that increasing levels of supporting contextual information enhanced emotion detection for words, but not for facial expressions. We also measured activity of the corrugator and zygomaticus muscle to assess facial simulation, as processing of emotional stimuli can be facilitated by facial simulation. While facial simulation emerged for facial expressions, the level of contextual supporting information did not qualify this effect. All in all, our findings suggest that adding emotional-relevant voice elements positively influence emotion detection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00221-020-05975-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936940PMC
February 2021

Quality of life, social function, emotion, and facial paresis in Dutch vestibular schwannoma patients.

Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol 2020 Jun 17;5(3):477-484. Epub 2020 Apr 17.

Department of Psychology Utrecht University, Martinus J. Langeveldgebouw Utrecht The Netherlands.

Objectives: The present study aimed to replicate the finding that vestibular schwannoma (VS) patients with facial paresis experience lower health related quality of life (QoL) than those without facial paresis in a Dutch sample, and to extend these findings by measuring VS patients' overall satisfaction with life, social function, and emotion.

Methods: Forty-seven VS patients, differing in degree of facial functioning, half of them with and half of them without a facial paresis, answered questionnaires about health related QoL (SF-36 and PANQOL), overall satisfaction with life, fear of being evaluated negatively by others, social avoidance and distress, and characteristics and symptoms of depression.

Results: We observed that VS patients with facial paresis experience lower health-related QoL as well negatively impacted social function and emotion compared to VS patients without facial paresis. VS patients with facial paresis experienced lower overall satisfaction with life, more characteristic symptoms of depression, and more fear of being evaluated negatively by others than VS patients without facial paresis.

Conclusion: These findings corroborate previous research showing an association between impaired facial functioning and lower QoL, but also extend them by showing differences on the quality of social function and emotion. Being aware of this difference between VS patients with and without facial paresis informs health practitioners regarding the specific support these patients might need. Moreover, it is also relevant to consider the influence of a facial paresis on patients' life when deciding between treatment options and in case of surgery the type of resection.

Level Of Evidence: 3.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lio2.371DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7314489PMC
June 2020

Lateralization of facial emotion processing and facial paresis in Vestibular Schwannoma patients.

Brain Behav 2020 07 12;10(7):e01644. Epub 2020 May 12.

Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Objective: This study investigates whether there exist differences in lateralization of facial emotion processing in patients suffering from Vestibular Schwannoma (VS) based on the presence of a facial paresis and their degree of facial functioning as measured by the House Brackmann Grading scale (HBG).

Methods: Forty-four VS patients, half of them with a facial paresis and half of them without a facial paresis, rated how emotive they considered images of faces showing emotion in the left versus right visual field. Stimuli consisted of faces with a neutral half and an emotional (happy or angry) half. The study had a mixed design with emotional expression (happy vs. angry) and emotional half (left vs. right visual field) of the faces as repeated measures, and facial paresis (present vs. absent) and HBG as between subjects' factors. The visual field bias was the main dependent variable.

Results: In line with typical findings in the normal population, a left visual field bias showed in the current sample: patients judged emotional expressions shown in the left visual field as more emotive than those shown in the right visual field. No differences in visual field bias showed based on the presence of a facial paresis nor based on patients' HBG.

Conclusion: VS patients show a left visual field bias when processing facial emotion. No differences in lateralization showed based on the presence of a facial paresis or on patients' HBG. Based on this study, facial paresis thus does not affect the lateralization of facial emotion processing in patients with VS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1644DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7375079PMC
July 2020

Lateralization of facial emotion processing and facial mimicry.

Laterality 2020 May 29;25(3):259-274. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands.

The two halves of the brain are believed to play different roles in emotional processing. In studies involving chimeric faces, emotional expressions in the left visual field are more strongly perceived as emotional than those in the right visual field. Notably, the role of facial mimicry has not been studied in relation to hemispheric lateralization. In the current study, which used a novel stimulus set of chimeric faces, we proposed and found that emotional intensity judgments replicate the left visual field bias for facial expressions of emotions. While a general facial mimicry effect to the chimeric faces occurred for the corrugator muscle, these mimicry effects were not related to the visual field bias. The results suggest that encoding the emotionality of another person's facial expression might occur independent from the mere mimicry of the facial expression itself.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1357650X.2019.1657127DOI Listing
May 2020

Moving events in time: time-referent hand-arm movements influence perceived temporal distance to past events.

J Exp Psychol Gen 2013 May 18;142(2):319-22. Epub 2012 Jun 18.

Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

We examine and find support for the hypothesis that time-referent hand-arm movements influence temporal judgments. In line with the concept of "left is associated with earlier times, and right is associated with later times," we show that performing left (right) hand-arm movements while thinking about a past event increases (decreases) the perceived temporal distance to the event. These findings show for the first time that hand-arm movements can influence the perceived temporal distance to events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0029026DOI Listing
May 2013
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