Poster presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society in Boston, MA.
Abstract: The present study was conducted to determine if familiarity with an individual influences the facial features examined while recognizing emotions. Pictures of a known person were shown as intact, with the eyes removed, or with the mouth removed. Unfamiliar faces were shown in a similar manner. Although there were no response time differences, there was a significant effect of familiarity (F(1, 15) = 34.86, p < .001) and face condition (F(2, 20) = 10.00, p < .001) for accuracy rate. Subjects were more accurate when identifying the emotions of familiar faces while removing the eyes resulted in reduced accuracy. There was no familiarity x face condition interaction. Therefore, the eyes are important for recognizing the emotion in a facial expression regardless of whether or not we are familiar with an individual but, in general, we are more accurate identifying emotions of those we know.