Social judgments are influenced by both facial expression and direction of eye gaze

Megan L. Willis*, Romina Palermo, Darren Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    In the current study we examined how emotional expressions influence two social judgments, approachability and trustworthiness, and how the effect of emotional expression is modulated by the direction of the signaller's eye gaze. For both social judgments, happy faces were judged more positively than all other emotions, while neutral faces were judged more favorably than faces displaying negative emotions. Angry and disgusted faces were given the most negative ratings, significantly more so than sad and fearful faces. Direction of eye gaze modulated the degree to which angry, happy, and neutral expressions influenced social judgments, which reflected the manner in which direction of eye gaze influenced the perceived intensity of these emotional expressions. The results suggest that the perception of direct threat, coupled with emotional intensity, both play a key role in the process of making social judgments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)415-429
    Number of pages15
    JournalSocial Cognition
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


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