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Sang Chul Chong, K. Lira Yoon, Jae-Won Yang; Ensemble coding of facial emotion and social anxiety. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):587. doi: 10.1167/13.9.587.
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Emotion estimation of facial crowds is crucial in judging other people’s moods, especially when faced with others people’s evaluation. This is particularly relevant for social anxious individuals, given that fear of evaluation is a key feature in social anxiety. The current study investigated how people’s overall emotion judgments of facial crowds are related to social anxiety. We presented 6, 12, or 24 faces expressing either anger or happiness for either 100 ms (Experiment 1) or 1000 ms (Experiment 2). We varied the ratio between angry and happy faces from 1:5 to 5:1 in five levels. The participants’ task was to judge whether the overall emotion of the display was positive or negative. The proportion of negative responses was plotted against the valence ratio between angry and happy faces. We then found a function to describe the relationship between each participant’s responses and the valence ratio. Based on these psychometric functions, we estimated each participant’s point of subjective equality (PSE) and precision (standard deviation of the psychometric function). In Experiment 1, we found that the participants’ PSEs were negatively correlated with their levels of social anxiety. However, no relation was found between precision and social anxiety. To better understand the significant relation between the PSEs and the levels of social anxiety, we categorized the participants into two groups depending on their levels of social anxiety. The PSEs of high social anxiety group did not significantly differ from the veridical ratio of 0.5, whereas those of low social anxiety group did significantly differ from it. We replicated these findings in Experiment 2 in which participants were selected based on their levels of social anxiety. Thus, socially anxious individuals lack positive biases that are present in non-anxious individuals and perceive the overall emotion of crowds more negatively.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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