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Recognizing Facial Emotions with Familiar and Unfamiliar Faces

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Chris Koch   [ updated Apr 24, 2010, 1:05 PM ]
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.

Chris Koch,
Apr 24, 2010, 1:00 PM