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Carol M. Huynh, Gabriela I. Vicente, Jessie J. Peissig; The Effects of Familiarity on Genuine Emotion Recognition. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):628. doi: 10.1167/10.7.628.
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Within the field of emotion recognition there have been numerous studies exploring the role of familiarity in emotion recognition. However, few have looked at the effect of familiarity using multiple genuine expressions of emotion. It seems plausible to propose that the more familiar someone is, for example a friend or family member, the more likely that the person's expression will be identified accurately. By focusing on only genuine expressions of emotion, we remove any additional information that may accompany the use of posed emotions (LaRusso, 1978). Also, it is critical to incorporate multiple expressions, rather than only two expressions as in many studies, to test for any differences between emotions, as well as creating a more realistic task. In our study, we used laboratory familiarity training to compare the recognition of emotion in familiar and unfamiliar faces. Half of the faces were familiarized by having people perform judgment tasks. One group had a single judgment task, a second group had six judgment tasks, and a third group was not familiarized with any of the faces. This training used photos of individuals expressing either a happy expression for half of the familiarized participants or a neutral expression for the other half. For the testing phase, both familiarized and unfamiliarized face stimuli were used, each shown with a variety of different emotions (e.g., happy, fear, disgust, confusion, and neutral). Participants then had to accurately categorize the facial expression. The results indicated that there is an effect of familiarity on the accuracy of emotion recognition. The more familiar one is with a stimulus, in this case a person's face, the more likely one is to identify the emotion accurately. This experiment is important because it contributes to our understanding of the effects of familiarity and its interaction with emotion recognition.
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