July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Recognizing Expressions: Are Static Displays Good Enough?
Author Affiliations
  • Nicole Nelson
    Psychology, Brock University
  • Catherine Mondloch
    Psychology, Brock University
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 592. doi:10.1167/13.9.592
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      Nicole Nelson, Catherine Mondloch; Recognizing Expressions: Are Static Displays Good Enough?. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):592. doi: 10.1167/13.9.592.

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

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Most research investigating children’s recognition of facial expressions has involved static and isolated face stimuli. However, in the real world facial expressions are dynamic and viewed in the context of body movements, background scenes, etc. We examined the influence of bodies on children’s and adults’ perception of emotional expressions using both static and dynamic stimuli. Children’s recognition of statically presented facial expressions is influenced by the accompanying postural expression (Mondloch, 2012; Mondloch, Horner, & Mian, 2012). However, recognition of dynamically presented facial expressions is not influenced by postural expressions (Nelson & Russell, 2011). That postural information influenced children’s recognition when stimuli were static – but not dynamic – is surprising. To resolve these discrepant findings we examined the extent to which attention allocation is influenced by a) the expression cues available and b) whether the stimulus is static or dynamic. Children (4-9 years) and adults viewed four video clips in three conditions: face-only, body-only (i.e. face blurred), and face-body. Stimuli were presented on a Tobii eye tracker and participants freely labeled each video. For dynamic stimuli in the face-body condition, both groups looked almost exclusively to the face (>88% of the time for all emotions). In the body-only condition, both groups showed a reduction in looking to the face, with an especially large drop observed in children (from 90% to 50%). For static stimuli, adults looked less at the face both in the face-body condition (71%) and in the body-only condition (32%) than they did for dynamic stimuli. Children are currently being tested. These results indicate that for adults – and perhaps for children – attentional allocation varies for static versus dynamic emotional expressions. These data may explain why dynamic bodies do not influence emotion recognition whereas static bodies do, providing a more complete understanding of how emotion recognition develops in childhood.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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