November 2002
Volume 2, Issue 7
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   November 2002
Perceptual categorisation of anti- expressions
Author Affiliations
  • Tamara L. Watson
    University College London, UK
    Macquarie University, Australia
  • Colin W.G. Clifford
    University of Sydney, Australia
Journal of Vision November 2002, Vol.2, 592. doi:
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      Tamara L. Watson, Colin W.G. Clifford; Perceptual categorisation of anti- expressions. Journal of Vision 2002;2(7):592.

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

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This study aimed to investigate the structure underlying the perceptual mechanisms of facial expression perception. Ekman's (1992) categorical theory of facial action perception and The Circumplex Model (Russell, 1980) of emotion recognition provide two different approaches to the representation of facial expression. It was hypothesised that morphing the six universal facial expressions (Ekman, 1992) into ‘anti expressions’ would clarify which aspects of these models best relate to the process of expression perception. Anti-expressions were produced by manipulating the configuration of an expressive face (+1) along an axis toward a neutral expression (0) as a mid point, and continuing along the axis into negative values until an anti-expression was achieved (−1). The configuration of this anti-expression was thus as different from a neutral expression as was the original expression, but the difference was in the diametrically opposite direction. Subjects were asked to categorise the resultant facial expressions. Anti-happy and anti-surprise were both found to be categorised as sad. Anti-sad and anti-fear were categorised as anger. Anti-disgust was categorised as surprise. Anti-anger tended to be seen as neutral or sad. The consistent categorisation of anti-expressions suggests that expression perception is not based on the two dimensions, pleasantness/unpleasantness and alertness/sleep. Rather the results are suggested as adding a perceptual structure to the categorical theory of facial expression recognition.

EkmanP.(1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion 6: 169–200.

RussellJ.A.(1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39: 1161–1178

Watson, T. L., Clifford, C. W. G.(2002). Perceptual categorisation of anti- expressions [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 2( 7): 592, 592a,, doi:10.1167/2.7.592. [CrossRef]

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