Seeing the Unseen: Evidence for Indirect Recognition of Brief, Concealed Emotion
39 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 7, 2016
The study examined explicit recognition vs. implicit reactions to spontaneous, brief expressions of emotion. Explicit recognition, where participants indicated which emotion they thought the stimulus individual was feeling, was compared to implicit reaction, based on a) electrodermal response (skin conductance response amplitude) to the stimulus video, and b) affiliative attitude towards the sender. Participants were exposed to a stimulus set of 20 spontaneously produced emotion expressions less than 500ms in duration and that represented one of five universal emotions (anger, fear, sadness, disgust and happiness), or a neutral comparison. In Experiment 1, individuals did not explicitly recognize emotion associated with the expressions, but had a higher electrodermal response, specifically for expressions of anger and sadness. Experiment 2 (n = 80) replicated the electrodermal findings of Experiment 1 and also showed that indirect recognition effects can be seen in social behavior, with expressions of distress (fear and sadness) resulting in greater affiliative attitudes towards the sender than expressions of threat (anger and disgust).
Keywords: Microexpressions; Emotion Recognition; Implicit Recognition; Electrodermal Response
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