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Andrea Christensen, Nick Taubert, Elisabeth M.J. Huis in't Veld, Beatrice de Gelder, Martin A. Giese; Perception of emotion from interactive body movement: influence of emotion congruency. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):649. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.649.
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INTRODUCTION: Most studies on the perception of emotional body language have focused on emotion expressed by individuals. However, a large part of the emotions relevant in everyday life occur in interactive situations, involving multiple individuals. We started to study such movements systematically exploiting motion-capture and methods from computer graphics that, opposed to video recordings of real scenes, provide an exact control of the stimulus properties. We investigated how the congruency of the emotions expressed by two interacting partners influences the perceived emotional expressiveness. METHODS: Visual stimuli showed computer animations based on a motion-captured scene, where one actor (A) approached another actor (B) from behind, and tapped him on his shoulder in different emotions following mood induction. We created stimuli from different actors (A) expressing anger or no emotion. The reaction of the second actor (B) was manipulated by replacing the original reaction by the corresponding action in different moods. Additionally, we created stimuli without any reaction of (B), showing (A) alone. Participants rated the angriness of (A) on a Likert-Scale ranging from 1 "not angry" to 5 "extraordinarily angry". They were explicitly asked to ignore the reaction of (B) in the scene. RESULTS: The emotion of the target character (A) was reliably recognized. In addition, we found a profound influence of the emotion expressed by the second character (B) in the scene on the participants’ ratings (ANOVA ‘Reaction’ F(3,42)=14.98, p<0.001, ‘Emotion’ F(1,14)=89.16, p<0.001). The strongest angriness rating for (A) was observed if (B) reacted angrily as well, irrespective whether (A) was neutral or angry. CONCLUSIONS: These results are compatible with an interpretation in terms of social context that has a strong influence on the perception of affect. Future experiments might reveal whether this influence is limited to negative emotions or does also apply to positive affects as happiness.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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