The purpose of the present study was to replicate the happy-superiority effect, which wasgreater for female than for male faces, found by Pixton and colleagues (in press, Pixton,Hellström, Englund, & Larsson, 2011) with a within-group study (Experiment 1) and abetween-group study (Experiment 2). All participants viewed the same pictures of male andfemale facial expressions (Tottenham, Tanaka, Leon et al., 2009) at three presentation times(12.50, 18.75, 25.00 ms), completing both a emotion-detection task (Task 1) and an emotionratingtask (Task 2). In Task 1, designed as a signal-detection task, participants answered yesif the face was emotional in Experiment 1, happy (happy-detection group) or angry (angrydetectiongroup) in Experiment 2, and no if not. In Task 2, participants rated each facestimulus on anger, happiness, and emotionality. Emotion sensitivities, d's, found in Task 1were adjusted using the differences in emotion-rating between each emotion-gender face andits neutral counterpart. For both Experiment 1 and 2, the d' values in Task 1 were greater forhappy faces than for angry faces, and “neutral” faces were not rated neutral in the differentemotion-type scales in Task 2. Taking this into account, the adjusted d' values were higher forthe happy-face group than for the angry-face group for the two longest times. Also, theadjusted d' values for angry-female faces remained lower than the other emotion-gender facecombinations. Together with results from Pixton’s (in press, 2011) between-groups study, thepresent within-participants results suggest that in emotion detection, happiness takesprecedence.
signal detection (perception), scaling, emotional face perception, Euclidean distance