Recognition of Emotion from Inverted Schematic Drawings of Faces

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The present study investigated whether facial expressions of emotion are recognized holistically, i.e., all at once as an entire unit, as faces are or featurally as other nonface stimuli. Evidence for holistic processing of faces comes from a reliable decrement in recognition performance when faces are presented inverted rather than upright. If emotion is recognized holistically, then recognition of facial expressions of emotion should be impaired by inversion. To test this, participants were shown schematic drawings of faces showing one of six emotions (surprise, sadness, anger, happiness, disgust, and fear) in either an upright or inverted orientation and were asked to indicate the emotion depicted. Participants were more accurate in the upright than in the inverted orientation, providing evidence in support of holistic recognition of facial emotion. Because recognition of facial expressions of emotion is important in social relationships, this research may have implications for treatment of some social disorders.


This article was originally published in Perceptual and Motor Skills. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Perceptual and Motor Skills


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