Data related to article "Facemasks impair the recognition of facial expressions that stimulate empathy (sadness, fear and disgust): an ERP study"

Published: 4 February 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/kpcgv763kc.1


In this study, ERPs were recorded in a group of 26 healthy male and female students engaged in recognizing 6 facial expressions of people wearing or not wearing surgical masks. Faces were preceded by the visual presentation of emotion prime words that were congruent or incongruent with the facial expression. The data of this collection are grand-average waveforms of Event-Related potentials (ERPs) recorded in healthy right-handed humans from 128 electrode sites at 512 Hz of sampling rate. The time epoch is 800 ms. ERP data were processed in two different ways: i) considering all EEG trials, or ii) only that not associated with an incorrect response. However, due to the largely uneven error rate across conditions (e.g., for masked faces or subtle emotions) ranging from 3.22 to 55.66%, the second method was considered unsound from the methodological point of view, and the more conservative and rigorous approach was preferred. Differences across conditions (masked vs. unmasked) were in fact larger when considering only correct responses. It should be noted that ERPs computed on the correct recognitions mostly contained signals reflecting the processing of easier to recognize stimuli (e.g. happy unmasked faces).

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University of Milano–Bicocca


Department of Psychology


Electrophysiological Technique