How we see others’ emotions depends on our pre-conceived beliefs

How we see emotions on another person’s face depends on our pre-conceived views of how we understand these emotions, researchers at NYU have found. In a series of experiments, subjects were assessed in how similarly they held different pairs of six emotions in their mind — Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear, Sadness, and Surprise — and whether the different ways subjects conceptually held these emotions may affect how subjects visually perceive these emotions on others’ faces.

“Perceiving other people’s facial emotion expressions often feels as if we are directly reading them out from a face, but these visual perceptions may differ across people depending on the unique conceptual beliefs we bring to the table,” explains Jonathan Freeman, the paper’s senior author and an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science. “Our findings suggest that people vary in the specific facial cues they utilize for perceiving facial emotion expressions.”

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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