July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Individual differences in the ability to recognize facial expressions are associated with the strength of adaptive expression coding but not the strength of holistic expression coding.
Author Affiliations
  • Romina Palermo
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders\nSchool of Psychology, University of Western Australia
  • Linda Jeffery
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders\nSchool of Psychology, University of Western Australia
  • Jessica Lewandowsky
    School of Psychology, University of Western Australia
  • Chiara Fiorentini
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders\nResearch School of Psychology, Australian National University
  • Elinor McKone
    Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders\nResearch School of Psychology, Australian National University
  • Jessica L. Irons
    Research School of Psychology, Australian National University
  • Andrew L. Skinner
    School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
  • Christopher P. Benton
    School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
  • Nichola Burton
    School of Psychology, University of Western Australia
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 1272. doi:10.1167/13.9.1272
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      Romina Palermo, Linda Jeffery, Jessica Lewandowsky, Chiara Fiorentini, Elinor McKone, Jessica L. Irons, Andrew L. Skinner, Christopher P. Benton, Nichola Burton; Individual differences in the ability to recognize facial expressions are associated with the strength of adaptive expression coding but not the strength of holistic expression coding.. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1272. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1272.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

There are large, reliable individual differences in the recognition of facial expressions but the source of this variation is not known. We investigated whether the ability to recognize facial expressions is associated with individual differences in the strength of two key face perception mechanisms – holistic coding of facial expression and adaptive coding of facial expression. Expression recognition ability was measured by three tasks that involved the matching and labeling of static and dynamic facial expressions. Holistic coding of expression was measured with three composite effect tasks: two in which participants labeled the expression of aligned and misaligned face composites; and one in which they judged whether two sequentially presented face composites were the same or different. Adaptive face coding was measured with an expression aftereffects task in which participants adapted to anti-expressions of fear, anger, sadness and happiness, and then judged the expression of briefly presented faces. A size change was included to minimize low-level adaptation. Despite good internal reliability and substantial range across individuals, we found no association between the ability to recognize facial expression and the strength of holistic coding of expression. This suggests that individual variation in facial expression recognition, unlike facial identity recognition, does not rely upon holistic processing. In contrast, the ability to recognize facial expression was strongly associated with the strength of facial expression aftereffects. This suggests that the ability to update face norms may play an important role in facial expression recognition ability. This is similar to facial identity recognition, where recent evidence finds individual variation in identity recognition is correlated with the strength of face identity aftereffects. Overall, results suggest that expression processing has both similarities to, and differences from, face identity recognition.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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