Familiarity and the processing of face sex and emotional expression

Dzafic, Sabina (2013). Familiarity and the processing of face sex and emotional expression Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Dzafic, Sabina
Thesis Title Familiarity and the processing of face sex and emotional expression
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Ottmar Lipp
Total pages 107
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Faces provide a large amount of information via variant features (e.g., emotional expressions) and invariant features (e.g., sex, race, and age). Inconsistent findings, however, have been reported about the interaction between these variant and invariant facial characteristics. Specifically, the processing of emotion has been found to interfere with the processing of sex and vice versa. Conversely, other research suggests that there is no interference between the processing of sex and emotion. These apparently contradictory findings may be due to the different number of poser faces used in these experiments. Repeatedly displaying a smaller set of poser faces may increase face familiarity, hence eliminate the need to process sex or emotion if this is not required. Experiment 1 involved categorising familiar and unfamiliar faces based on sex and emotional expression. Emotion was found to interfere with sex processing and vice versa for both familiar and unfamiliar faces. An unexpected finding was that during sex categorisation, familiar angry faces were categorised slower than familiar happy faces for both male and female posers. This suggests that social stereotypes are relied upon for recognising face sex, but only for unfamiliar faces. Experiment 2 was designed to test whether this finding would transfer to other negative expressions, such as disgust. The effect from Experiment 1 was not found; concluding that slower categorisation of negative emotions for familiar faces may be specific to anger. This novel finding contributes to the theoretical understanding of how face familiarity can influence the processing sex and emotion.
Keyword Familiarity
emotional expression

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Created: Thu, 19 Jun 2014, 14:24:04 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology