Participants performed a priming task during which emotional faces served as prime stimuli and emotional words served as targets. Prime-target pairs were congruent or incongruent, and two levels of prime visibility were obtained by varying the duration of the masked primes. To probe a neural signature of the impact of the masked primes, lateralized readiness potentials (LRPs) were recorded over motor cortex. In the high-visibility condition, responses to word targets were faster when the prime-target pairs were congruent than when they were incongruent, providing evidence of priming effects. In line with the behavioral results, the electrophysiological data showed that high-visibility face primes resulted in LRP differences between congruent and incongruent trials, suggesting that prime stimuli initiated motor preparation. Contrary to the above pattern, no evidence for reaction time or LRP differences was observed in the low-visibility condition, revealing that the depth of facial expression processing is dependent on stimulus visibility.