SIGNAL DETECTION ANALYSES OF THE PERCEPTION OF HAPPINESS AND ANGRINESS IN BRIEFLY PRESENTED FACES

  • Tonya S. Pixton

Abstract

Individuals can make quick and accurate judgments of gender and emotion from facial cues, but there are conflicting results on which, gender or emotion of face, is detected quicker. In this experiment, participants viewed briefly presented faces (happy-neutral and angry- neutral) over four sessions, answering “yes†if the face was perceived as emotional and “no†if the face was perceived as not emotional. Using Signal Detection Theory, sensitivity (d') and criterion (c) were obtained for each combination of gender and emotion across each of five presentation times (6.25, 12.50, 18.75, 25.00, and 31.25 ms). Overall, d' increased and c decreased, becoming less strict, with increasing presentation time. There were no effects of gender-of-participant on d' and c. d' was higher for happy than for angry faces and for angry- male than for angry-female faces. c was lower for happy than for angry faces and for happy- female than for happy-male faces.

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