The Role of the Visual System in Emotion Perception

Acta Analytica 28 (2):179-187 (2013)
Looking at a person’s expression is a good way of telling what she feels—what emotions she has. Why is that? Is it because we see her emotion, or is it because we infer her mental state from her expression? My claim is that there is a sense in which we do see the person’s emotion. I first argue that expressions are physical events that carry information about the emotions that produce them. I then examine evidence suggesting that specific brain areas and structures are involved in the process that extracts such information and makes it available in the content of visual experience. I consider only what happens in early stages of visual processing and make no claim about the role of simulation and empathy
Keywords Emotion  Expression  Visual experience  Information  Visual system
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DOI 10.1007/s12136-012-0151-7
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John McDowell (1994). Mind and World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

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