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

Article


Jansari, A., 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.
AuthorsJansari, A., Rodway, P. and Goncalves, Salvador
Abstract

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.

Keywordsface recognition; sex differences; response bias; hemispheric asymmetry
JournalBrain and Cognition
Journal citation76 (3), pp. 415-423
Year2011
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY-ND
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10552/1399
Publication dates
Print21 Apr 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Dec 2011
Additional information

Citation:
Jansari, A., Rodway, P., Goncalves, S. (2009), ‘Identifying facial emotions: Valence Specific Effects and an exploration of the effects of viewer gender '. Brain and Cognition, 76(3), August 2011, pp. 415-423..

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