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Goldsmiths - University of London

Identifying facial emotions: valence specific effects and an exploration of the effects of viewer gender

Jansari, Ashok S.; Rodway, P. and Goncalves, Salvador. 2011. Identifying facial emotions: valence specific effects and an exploration of the effects of viewer gender. Brain and Cognition, 76(3), pp. 415-423. ISSN 0278-2626 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The valence hypothesis suggests that the right hemisphere is specialised for negative emotions and the left hemisphere is specialised for positive emotions (Silberman & Weingartner, 1986). It is unclear to what extent valence-specific effects in facial emotion perception depend upon the gender of the perceiver. To explore this question 46 participants completed a free view lateralised emotion perception task which involved judging which of two faces expressed a particular emotion. Eye fixations of 24 of the participants were recorded using an eye tracker. A significant valence-specific laterality effect was obtained, with positive emotions more accurately identified when presented to the right of centre, and negative emotions more accurately identified when presented to the left of centre. The valence-specific laterality effect did not depend on the gender of the perceiver. Analysis of the eye tracking data showed that males made more fixations while recognising the emotions and that the left-eye was fixated substantially more than the right-eye during emotion perception. Finally, in a control condition where both faces were identical, but expressed a faint emotion, the participants were significantly more likely to select the right side when the emotion label was positive. This finding adds to evidence suggesting that valence effects in facial emotion perception are not only caused by the perception of the emotion but by other processes.

Item Type: Article

Identification Number (DOI):

10.1016/j.bandc.2011.03.009

Keywords:

Sex differences; Hemispheric asymmetry; Face recognition; Response bias

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology

Dates:

DateEvent
August 2011Published

Item ID:

11168

Date Deposited:

19 Jan 2015 11:39

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 16:07

URI: http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11168

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