DISCRIMINABILITY AND PERCEIVED EMOTIONALITY OF FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: THE ROLE OF THE PARTICULAR FACE STIMULI

  • Tonya S. Pixton

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the perceived emotionality of a set of standard faces. Seventy participants rated 90 pictures of facial expressions (presumably angry, happy, and neutral) from the NimStim Set of Facial Expressions (Tottenham et al., in press) on angriness (Block 1), happiness (Block 2), and perceived emotionality (Block 3). Neutral faces were rated as somewhat angry in Block 1 and as somewhat sad in Block 2. In Block 3, angry faces were rated as only slightly more emotional than happy faces. However, happy faces differed more from neutral faces than did angry faces in terms of the specific emotion (Blocks 1, 2). Together with Pixton’s (2007) results, this suggests that d' is dependent only on the intensity of emotion, not on the kind of emotion; therefore, the greater discriminability for happy faces, found in the literature, might be due to the particular stimulus faces used.

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