A substantial body of research has established that even when we are not consciously aware of the faces of others we are nevertheless sensitive to, and impacted by their facial expression. In this paper, we consider this body of research from a new perspective by examining the functions of unconscious perception revealed by these studies. A consideration of the literature from this perspective highlights that existing research methods are limited when it comes to revealing possible functions of unconscious perception. (...) The critical shortcoming is that in all of the methods, the perceived facial expression remains outside of awareness. This is a problem because there are good reasons to believe that one important function of unconsciously perceived negative faces is to attract attention so that they are consciously perceived; such conscious perception, however, is never allowed with existing methodologies. We discuss recent studies of emotional face perception under conditions of visual search that address this issue directly. Further, we suggest that methodologies that do not examine cognitive processes as they occur in more natural settings may result in fundamental misunderstandings of human cognition. (shrink)
With a few yet increasing number of exceptions, the cognitive sciences enthusiastically endorsed the idea that there are basic facialexpressions of emotions that are created by specific configurations of facial muscles. We review evidence that suggests an inherent role for context in emotion perception. Context does not merely change emotion perception at the edges; it leads to radical categorical changes. The reviewed findings suggest that configurations of facial muscles are inherently ambiguous, and they call for (...) a different approach towards the understanding of facialexpressions of emotions. Prices of sticking with the modal view, and advantages of an expanded view, are succinctly reviewed. (shrink)
A key feature of facial behavior is its dynamic quality. However, most previous research has been limited to the use of static images of prototypical expressive patterns. This article explores the role of facial dynamics in the perception of emotions, reviewing relevant empirical evidence demonstrating that dynamic information improves coherence in the identification of affect (particularly for degraded and subtle stimuli), leads to higher emotion judgments (i.e., intensity and arousal), and helps to differentiate between genuine and fake (...) class='Hi'>expressions. The findings underline that using static expressions not only poses problems of ecological validity, but also limits our understanding of what facial activity does. Implications for future research on facial activity, particularly for social neuroscience and affective computing, are discussed. (shrink)
The aim of this review is to show the fruitfulness of using images of facialexpressions as experimental stimuli in order to study how neural systems support biologically relevant learning as it relates to social interactions. Here we consider facialexpressions as naturally conditioned stimuli which, when presented in experimental paradigms, evoke activation in amygdala–prefrontal neural circuits that serve to decipher the predictive meaning of the expressions. Facialexpressions offer a relatively innocuous strategy (...) with which to investigate these normal variations in affective information processing, as well as the promise of elucidating what role the aberrance of such processing might play in emotional disorders. (shrink)
In this article, we review empirical evidence regarding the relationship between facial expression and emotion during infancy. We focus on differential emotions theory’s view of this relationship because of its theoretical and methodological prominence. We conclude that current evidence fails to support its proposal regarding a set of pre-specified facialexpressions that invariably reflect a corresponding set of discrete emotions in infants. Instead, the relationship between facial expression and emotion appears to be more complex. Some (...) class='Hi'>facialexpressions may have different meanings in infants than in children and adults. In addition, nonemotion factors may sometimes lead to the production of “emotional” facialexpressions. We consider alternative perspectives on the nature of emotion and emotional expression in infancy with particular focus on differentiation and dynamical systems approaches. (shrink)
According to a common sense theory, facialexpressions signal specific emotions to people of all ages and therefore provide children easy access to the emotions of those around them. The evidence, however, does not support that account. Instead, children’s understanding of facialexpressions is poor and changes qualitatively and slowly over the course of development. Initially, children divide facialexpressions into two simple categories (feels good, feels bad). These broad categories are then gradually differentiated (...) until an adult system of discrete categories is achieved, likely in the teen years. Children’s understanding of most specific emotions begins not with facialexpressions, but with their understanding of the emotion’s antecedents and behavioral consequences. (shrink)
In this article we discuss the aspects of designing facialexpressions for virtual humans (VHs) with a specific culture. First we explore the notion of cultures and its relevance for applications with a VH. Then we give a general scheme of designing emotional facialexpressions, and identify the stages where a human is involved, either as a real person with some specific role, or as a VH displaying facialexpressions. We discuss how the display (...) and the emotional meaning of facialexpressions may be measured in objective ways, and how the culture of displayers and the judges may influence the process of analyzing human facialexpressions and evaluating synthesized ones. We review psychological experiments on cross-cultural perception of emotional facialexpressions. By identifying the culturally critical issues of data collection and interpretation with both real and VHs, we aim at providing a methodological reference and inspiration for further research. (shrink)
The multitude of facialexpressions that humans are capable of is particularly potent in capturing attention. Facialexpressions provide crucial information regarding a person's internal state and intentions and therefore the rapid recognition of these expressions can facilitate efficient social interaction. This article reviews evidence from a number of domains and argues that common personality traits—that are distributed normally in the general population—can have a profound influence on the processing of facialexpressions. It (...) synthesizes data from behavioral and neuroimaging research to illustrate that these personality traits are an important determinant of emotion processing. The article focuses on the processing of facial emotional expressions paying particular attention to the influence of common personality traits in influencing emotion processing. A complete understanding of the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in the processing of facialexpressions, should take individual differences in personality traits into account. (shrink)
One facet of Vigil's socio-relational framework of expressive behaviors (SRFB) suggests that females are more sensitive to facialexpressions than are males, and should detect facialexpressions more quickly. A re-examination of recent research with children demonstrates that girls do detect various facialexpressions more quickly than do boys. Although this provides support for SRFB, further examination of SRFB in children would lend important support this evolutionary-based theory.
This paper points out that a major shift of paradigm is currently going on in the study of the human face and it seeks to articulate and to develop the fundamental assumptions underlying this shift. The main theses of the paper are: 1) Facialexpressions can convey meanings comparable to the meanings of verbal utterances. 2) Semantic analysis (whether of verbal utterances or of facialexpressions) must distinguish between the context-independent invariant and its contextual interpretations. 3) (...) Certain components of facial behavior (¿facial gestures¿) do have constant context-independent meanings. 4) The meanings of facial components and configurations of components have an inherent first-person and present tense orientation. 5) The basis for the interpretation of facial gestures is, above all, experiential. 6) The meanings of some facialexpressions are universally intelligible and can be interpreted without reference to any local conventions. 7) To be fruitful, the semantic analysis of facialexpressions needs a methodology. This can be derived from the methodological experience of linguistic semantics. The author illustrates and supports these theses by analyzing a range of universally interpretable facialexpressions such as the following ones: ¿brow furrowed¿ (i.e. eyebrows drawn together); eyebrows raised; eyes wide open; corners of the mouth raised; corners of the mouth lowered; mouth open (while not speaking); lips pressed together; upper lip and nose ¿raised¿ (and, consequently, nose wrinkled). (shrink)
This article reviews recent investigations of three familiar naturalistic contexts in which facialexpressions are frequently encountered: whole bodies, natural scenes, and emotional voices. It briefly reviews recent evidence that shifts the emphasis from a categorical model of face processing, based on the assumption that faces are processed as a distinct object category with their dedicated perceptual and neurofunctional basis, towards more distributed models where different aspects of faces are processed by different brain areas and different perceptual routines (...) and shows how these models are better suited to represent face perception and face-context effects. This study details one kind of context effect, which is found in investigations of interactions between facial and bodily expressions. It sketches a perspective in which context plays a crucial role, even for highly automated processes like the ones underlying recognition of facialexpressions. Some recent evidence of context effects also has implications for current theories of face perception and its deficits. (shrink)
Change blindness—our inability to detect changes in a stimulus—occurs even when the change takes place gradually, without disruption (Simons et al., 2000). Such gradual changes are more difficult to detect than changes that involve a disruption. In this experiment, we extend previous findings to the domain of facialexpressions of emotions occurring in the context of a realistic scene. Even with changes occurring in central, highly relevant stimuli such as faces, gradual changes still produced high levels of change (...) blindness: Detection rates were three times lower for gradual changes than for displays involving disruption, with only 15% of the observers perceiving the gradual change within a single trial. However, despite this high rate of change blindness, changes on faces were significantly better detected than color changes occurring on non facial objects in the same scene. (shrink)
Facialexpressions have communicative properties that bear some importance to perceivers. Such expressions are informative with respect to the future behavior of the expressing individual and with respect to the conditions of the broader social environment. This article argues that appropriate responses to facialexpressions are an important means by which people adapt to their social ecology. The immediate responses to facialexpressions depend on contextual factors. It is more important for individuals to (...) adapt to the ingroup than to other groups, for this reason people should exhibit special sensitivity to ingroup facialexpressions. It reviews the literature regarding the role of context in the recognition of facialexpressions and regarding group membership and emotion recognition, with a special emphasis on the role of culture. It focuses on facialexpressions of emotion if only because of available empirical literature. (shrink)
Gaze plays a fundamental role in the processing of facialexpressions from birth. Gaze direction is a crucial part of the social signal encoded in and decoded from faces. The ability to discriminate gaze direction, already evident early in life, is essential for the development of more complex socially relevant tasks, such as joint and shared attention. At the same time, facialexpressions play a fundamental role in the encoding of gaze direction and, when combined, expression (...) and gaze communicate behavioural motivation to approach or avoid. However, the investigation of how gaze direction and emotional expression interact during the processing of a face has been relatively neglected, and is the key question of this review. (shrink)
Understanding the very nature of the smile with an integrative approach and a novel model is a fertile ground for a new theoretical vision and insights. However, from this perspective, I challenge the authors to integrate culture and race in their model, because both factors would impact upon the embodying and decoding of facialexpressions.
Attention serves to represent selectively relevant information at the expense of competing and irrelevant information, but the mechanisms and effects of attention are not unitary. The great variety of methods and techniques used to study automaticity and attention for facialexpressions suggests that the time should now be ready for a better breaking down of the concepts of automaticity and attention into elementary constituents that are more tractable to investigations in cognitive neuroscience. This article reviews both the behavioral (...) and neuroimaging literature on the automatic perception of facialexpressions of emotion in healthy volunteers and patients with brain damage. It focuses on aspects of automaticity in face perception that relate to task goals, attentional control, and conscious awareness. Behavioral and neuroimaging findings converge to support some degree of automaticity in processing facialexpressions and is likely to reflect distinct components that should be better disentangled at both the behavioral and neural level. (shrink)
Although we have learned much about the neuropsychological control of facialexpressions of emotion, there is still much work to do. We suggest that future work integrate advances in our theoretical understanding of the roles of volition and consciousness in the elicitation of emotion and the production of facialexpressions with advances in our understanding of its underlying neurophysiology. We first review the facial musculature and the neural paths thought to innervate it, as well as (...) previous attempts at understanding the neural control of facialexpressions of emotion, focusing on the voluntary-involuntary dichotomy and studies of hemispheric specialization. In the second section, we discuss four major aspects of the psychology of facialexpressions of emotion that have particular import to their neurophysiological substrates. We offer these as a starting point for a better integration of psychological and neurophysiological perspectives in considering the neuropsychological control of facialexpressions of emotion. (shrink)
In children experiencing pain, the study of the social context of facialexpressions might help to evaluate evolutionary and conditioning hypotheses of behavioural development. Social motivations and influences may be complex, as seen in studies of children having their ears pierced, and in studies of everyday pain in children. A study of opposing predictions of the long-term effects of parental caregiving is suggested.
In the target article, we reviewed empirical evidence regarding the relationship between facialexpressions and emotion in infancy. In our response to commentators, we make three main points. First, we concur with Hertenstein that the field has thus far relied too heavily on deductive reasoning, and suggest that future research strike a balance between inductive and deductive reasoning. Second, we maintain that infant recognition of discrete emotions remains an open question. Third, we state our position regarding the revised (...) version of DET. (shrink)
Deficits in recognition of facialexpressions of emotions are considered to be an important factor explaining impairments in social functioning and affective reactions of schizophrenic patients. Many studies confirmed such deficits while controversies remained concerning the emotion valence and modality. The aim of the study was to explore the process of recognizing facialexpressions of emotion in the group of schizophrenic patients by analyzing the role of emotion valence, modality and gender of the model. Results of (...) the group of 35 patients and 35 matched controls indicate that while schizophrenic patients show general impairment in recognizing facialexpressions of both positive and the majority of negative emotions, there are differences in deficits for particular emotions. Expressions also appeared to be more ambiguous for the patients while variables connected with gender were found less significant. (shrink)
The present report examined the hypothesis that two distinct visual routes contribute in processing low and high spatial frequencies of fearful facialexpressions. Having the participants presented with a backwardly masked task, we analyzed conscious processing of spatial frequency contents of emotional faces according to both objective and subjective taskrelevant criteria. It was shown that fear perception in the presence of the low-frequency faces can be supported by stronger automaticity leading to less false positives. In contrary, the detection (...) of high-frequency fearful faces was more likely supported by conscious awareness leading to more true positives. (shrink)
This article focuses on a theoretical account integrating classic and recent findings on the communication of emotions across cultures: a dialect theory of emotion. Dialect theory uses a linguistic metaphor to argue emotion is a universal language with subtly different dialects. As in verbal language, it is more challenging to understand someone speaking a different dialect—which fits with empirical support for an in-group advantage, whereby individuals are more accurate judging emotional expressions from their own cultural group versus foreign groups. (...) Dialect theory has sparked controversy with its implications for dominant theories about cross-cultural differences in emotion. This article reviews the theory, its mounting body of evidence, evidence for alternative accounts, and practical implications for multicultural societies. (shrink)
Unconscious processing of stimuli with emotional content can bias affective judgments. Is this subliminal affective priming merely a transient phenomenon manifested in fleeting perceptual changes, or are long-lasting effects also induced? To address this question, we investigated memory for surprise faces 24 h after they had been shown with 30-ms fearful, happy, or neutral faces. Surprise faces subliminally primed by happy faces were initially rated as more positive, and were later remembered better, than those primed by fearful or neutral faces. (...) Participants likely to have processed primes supraliminally did not respond differentially as a function of expression. These results converge with findings showing memory advantages with happy expressions, though here the expressions were displayed on the face of a different person, perceived subliminally, and not present at test. We conclude that behavioral biases induced by masked emotional expressions are not ephemeral, but rather can last at least 24 h. (shrink)
I agree with Williams that evolutionary theory provides the best account of the pain expression. We may disagree as to whether pain has an emotional dimension or includes discrete basic emotions as integral components. I interpret basic emotion expressions that occur contemporaneously with pain expression as representing separate but highly interactive systems, each with distinct adaptive functions.