What is it about?

We revisit the common viewpoint that emotional expressions are identified automatically. We show that typical expressions, but not morphed or weaker ones, can be identified while there non face related processing is going on.

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Why is it important?

Our study resolves the opposing results of two similar previous studies. Our data is the first to suggest that morphed facial expressions are less or non-automatically processed.


We expected emotion to be an automatic process, and this is what our data show. One important consideration here is that the levels of automatic processing in dual-task studies, such as this one, can be shaped by the mere practice in Task 2 trials. Future studies might explore other methods than manual response times to pin down the exact time course or stages of processing involved in the automatic identification of emotion.

Joshua Maxwell
University of New Mexico

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Capacity-free automatic processing of facial expressions of emotion., Emotion, December 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/emo0000965.
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