New tests to measure individual differences in matching and labelling facial expressions of emotion, and their association with ability to recognise vocal emotions and facial identity

Romina Palermo*, Kirsty B. O'Connor, Joshua M. Davis, Jessica Irons, Elinor McKone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although good tests are available for diagnosing clinical impairments in face expression processing, there is a lack of strong tests for assessing "individual differences" - that is, differences in ability between individuals within the typical, nonclinical, range. Here, we develop two new tests, one for expression perception (an odd-man-out matching task in which participants select which one of three faces displays a different expression) and one additionally requiring explicit identification of the emotion (a labelling task in which participants select one of six verbal labels). We demonstrate validity (careful check of individual items, large inversion effects, independence from nonverbal IQ, convergent validity with a previous labelling task), reliability (Cronbach's alphas of.77 and.76 respectively), and wide individual differences across the typical population. We then demonstrate the usefulness of the tests by addressing theoretical questions regarding the structure of face processing, specifically the extent to which the following processes are common or distinct: (a) perceptual matching and explicit labelling of expression (modest correlation between matching and labelling supported partial independence); (b) judgement of expressions from faces and voices (results argued labelling tasks tap into a multi-modal system, while matching tasks tap distinct perceptual processes); and (c) expression and identity processing (results argued for a common first step of perceptual processing for expression and identity).

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere68126
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

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