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Happy to see me, aren't you, Sally?: Signal detection analysis of emotion detection in briefly presented male and female faces
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2011 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, ISSN 0036-5564, E-ISSN 1467-9450, Vol. 52, no 4, 361-368 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Using signal detection methods, possible effects of emotion type (happy, angry), gender of the stimulus face, and gender of the participant on the detectionand response bias of emotion in briefly presented faces were investigated. Fifty-seven participants (28 men, 29 women) viewed 90 briefly presented faces(30 happy, 30 angry, and 30 neutral, each with 15 male and 15 female faces) answering yes if the face was perceived as emotional and no if it was not perceivedas emotional. Sensitivity [d’, z(hit rate) minus z(false alarm rate)] and response bias (b, likelihood ratio of ‘‘signal plus noise’’ vs. ‘‘noise’’) weremeasured for each face combination for each presentation time (6.25, 12.50, 18.75, 25.00, 31.25 ms). The d’ values were higher for happy than for angryfaces and higher for angry-male than for angry-female faces, and there were no effects of gender-of-participant. Results also suggest a greater tendency forparticipants to judge happy-female faces as emotional, as shown by lower b values for these faces as compared to the other emotion-gender combinations.This happy-female response bias suggests, at least, a partial explanation to happy-superiority effects in studies where performance is only measured as percentcorrect responses, and, in general, that women are expected to be happy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 52, no 4, 361-368 p.
Keyword [en]
face perception, signal detection (perception), facial expressions, gender differences, emotion, happiness, anger, response bias
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57160DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2011.00879.xISI: 000292743900006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-57160DiVA: diva2:414412
Available from: 2011-05-03 Created: 2011-05-03 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Expecting Happy Women, Not Detecting the Angry Ones: Detection and Perceived Intensity of Facial Anger, Happiness, and Emotionality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expecting Happy Women, Not Detecting the Angry Ones: Detection and Perceived Intensity of Facial Anger, Happiness, and Emotionality
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Faces provide cues for judgments regarding the emotional state of individuals. Using signal-detection methodology and a standardized stimulus set, the overall aim of the present dissertation was to investigate the detection of emotional facial expressions (i.e., angry and happy faces) with neutral expressions as the nontarget stimuli. Study I showed a happy-superiority effect and a bias towards reporting happiness in female faces. As work progressed, questions arose regarding whether the emotional stimuli were equal with regard to perceived strength of emotion, and whether the neutral faces were perceived as neutral. To further investigate the effect of stimulus quality on the obtained findings, Study II was designed such that the facial stimuli were rated on scales of happy-sad, angry-friendly, and emotionality. Results showed that ‘neutral’ facial expressions were not rated as neutral, and that there was a greater perceived distance between happy and neutral faces than between angry and neutral faces. These results were used to adjust the detectability measures to compensate for the varying distances of the angry and happy stimuli from the neutral stimuli in the emotional space. The happy-superiority effect was weakened, while an angry-female disadvantage remained. However, as these results were based upon different participant groups for detection and emotional rating, Study III was designed to investigate whether the results from Studies I and II could be replicated in a design where the same participants performed both tasks. Again, the results showed the non-neutrality of ‘neutral’ expressions and that happiness was more easily detected than anger, as shown in general emotion as well as specific emotion detection. Taken together, the overall results of the present dissertation demonstrate a happy-superiority effect that was greater for female than male faces, that angry-female faces were the most difficult to detect, and a bias to report female faces as happy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2011. 79 p.
Keyword
Signal Detection (Perception), Happiness, Anger, Face Perception, Facial Expressions, Superiority Effects, Gender Differences, Response Bias, Scaling, Euclidean Distance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57167 (URN)978-91-7447-304-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-06-10, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, Sweden, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: In press. Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.Available from: 2011-05-12 Created: 2011-05-03 Last updated: 2011-10-20Bibliographically approved

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