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Social interaction contexts bias the perceived expressions of interactants

Gray, K., Barber, L., Murphy, J. and Cook, R. (2017). Social interaction contexts bias the perceived expressions of interactants. Emotion, 17(4), pp. 567-571. doi: 10.1037/emo0000257

Abstract

The present study sought to determine whether contextual information available when viewing social interactions from third-person perspectives, may influence observers’ perception of the interactants’ facial emotion. Observers judged whether the expression of a target face was happy or fearful, in the presence of a happy, aggressive or neutral interactant. In two experiments, the same target expressions were judged to be happier when presented in the context of a happy interactant, than when interacting with a neutral or aggressive partner. We failed to show that the target expression was judged as more fearful when interacting with an aggressive partner. Importantly, observers’ perception of the target expression was not modulated by the emotion of the context interactant when the interactants were presented back-to-back, suggesting that the bias depends on the presence of an intact interaction arrangement. These results provide valuable insight into how social contextual effects shape our perception of facial emotion.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright APA, 2017. This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher Keywords: Social interactions; contextual modulation; expression recognition
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/16315
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