The use of facial features in facial expression discrimination
MetadataShow full item record
The present four studies are the first to examine the effect of presentation time on accurate facial expression discrimination while concurrently using eye movement monitoring to ensure fixation to specific features during the brief presentation of the entire face. Recent studies using backward masking and evaluating accuracy performance with signal detection methods (A’) have identified a happy-face advantage however differences between other facial expressions of emotion have not been reported. In each study, a specific exposure time before mask (150, 100, 50, or 16.67 ms) and eight different fixation locations were used during the presentation of neutral, disgusted, fearful, happy, and surprised expressions. An effect of emotion was found across all presentation times such that the greatest performance was seen for happiness, followed by neutral, disgust, surprise, and with the lowest performances seen for fear. Fixation to facial features specific to an emotion did not improve performance and did not account for the differences in accuracy performance between emotions. Rather, results suggest that accuracy performance depends on the integration of facial features, and that this varies across emotions and with presentation time.