A change in strategy: Static emotion recognition in Malaysian Chinese

Chrystalle B Y Tan*, Elizabeth Sheppard, Ian D. Stephen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)
    7 Downloads (Pure)


    Studies have shown that while East Asians focused on the center of the face to recognize identities, participants adapted their strategy by focusing more on the eyes to identify emotions, suggesting that the eyes may contain salient information pertaining to emotional state in Eastern cultures. However, Western Caucasians employ the same strategy by moving between the eyes and mouth to identify both identities and emotions. Malaysian Chinese have been shown to focus on the eyes and nose more than the mouth during face recognition task, which represents an intermediate between Eastern and Western looking strategies. The current study examined whether Malaysian Chinese continue to employ an intermediate strategy or shift towards an Eastern or Western pattern (by fixating more on the eyes or mouth respectively) during an emotion recognition task. Participants focused more on the eyes, followed by the nose then mouth. Directing attention towards the eye region resulted in better recognition of certain own- than other-race emotions. Although the fixation patterns appear similar for both tasks, further analyses showed that fixations on the eyes were reduced whereas fixations on the nose and mouth were increased during emotion recognition, indicating that participants adapt looking strategies based on their aims.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1085941
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalCogent Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2015

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