Limits...
Beyond face value: does involuntary emotional anticipation shape the perception of dynamic facial expressions?

Palumbo L, Jellema T - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Recently it has been shown that early stages of social perception can already be influenced by (implicit) attributions made by the observer about the agent's mental state and intentions.Neutral facial expressions displayed at the end of short video-clips, in which an initial facial expression of joy or anger gradually morphed into a neutral expression, were misjudged as being slightly angry or slightly happy, respectively (Experiment 1).Underpinning neural mechanisms are discussed in relation to the current debate on action and emotion understanding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Emotional facial expressions are immediate indicators of the affective dispositions of others. Recently it has been shown that early stages of social perception can already be influenced by (implicit) attributions made by the observer about the agent's mental state and intentions. In the current study possible mechanisms underpinning distortions in the perception of dynamic, ecologically-valid, facial expressions were explored. In four experiments we examined to what extent basic perceptual processes such as contrast/context effects, adaptation and representational momentum underpinned the perceptual distortions, and to what extent 'emotional anticipation', i.e. the involuntary anticipation of the other's emotional state of mind on the basis of the immediate perceptual history, might have played a role. Neutral facial expressions displayed at the end of short video-clips, in which an initial facial expression of joy or anger gradually morphed into a neutral expression, were misjudged as being slightly angry or slightly happy, respectively (Experiment 1). This response bias disappeared when the actor's identity changed in the final neutral expression (Experiment 2). Videos depicting neutral-to-joy-to-neutral and neutral-to-anger-to-neutral sequences again produced biases but in opposite direction (Experiment 3). The bias survived insertion of a 400 ms blank (Experiment 4). These results suggested that the perceptual distortions were not caused by any of the low-level perceptual mechanisms (adaptation, representational momentum and contrast effects). We speculate that especially when presented with dynamic, facial expressions, perceptual distortions occur that reflect 'emotional anticipation' (a low-level mindreading mechanism), which overrules low-level visual mechanisms. Underpinning neural mechanisms are discussed in relation to the current debate on action and emotion understanding.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Illustration of the stimulus presentations in Experiment 1.Joy-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of joy (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% joy, a neutral or a 10% anger expression (top panel). Anger-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of anger (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% anger, a neutral or a 10% joy expression (bottom panel).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection


getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3569428&req=5

pone-0056003-g001: Illustration of the stimulus presentations in Experiment 1.Joy-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of joy (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% joy, a neutral or a 10% anger expression (top panel). Anger-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of anger (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% anger, a neutral or a 10% joy expression (bottom panel).

Mentions: Nine interpolated images, in between the full-blown expression of joy or anger (which we call 100%) and the neutral expression (0%) were created at equal steps of 10% intensity change, using computer morphing procedures [46]. Rapid successive presentation of these interpolated frames constituted the videos. The first frame of each video sequence showed the emotional expression at 100% intensity and was presented for 300 ms to ensure the type of emotion was properly recognised [47]; the subsequent interpolated frames were shown for 30 ms each. The clips ended either in a neutral expression, in a 10% joy expression or in a 10% anger expression. The last frame remained on the screen for 300 ms. The total duration of the morph sequence was 270 ms (9×30 ms), and was 30 ms longer or shorter for clips with 10% intensity endpoints (see Figure 1). A total of 48 videos were made (8 actors×2 perceptual histories×3 endpoints).


Beyond face value: does involuntary emotional anticipation shape the perception of dynamic facial expressions?

Palumbo L, Jellema T - PLoS ONE (2013)

Illustration of the stimulus presentations in Experiment 1.Joy-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of joy (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% joy, a neutral or a 10% anger expression (top panel). Anger-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of anger (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% anger, a neutral or a 10% joy expression (bottom panel).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3569428&req=5

pone-0056003-g001: Illustration of the stimulus presentations in Experiment 1.Joy-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of joy (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% joy, a neutral or a 10% anger expression (top panel). Anger-to-‘neutral’ videos started with a facial expression of anger (100%), which gradually morphed into a 10% anger, a neutral or a 10% joy expression (bottom panel).
Mentions: Nine interpolated images, in between the full-blown expression of joy or anger (which we call 100%) and the neutral expression (0%) were created at equal steps of 10% intensity change, using computer morphing procedures [46]. Rapid successive presentation of these interpolated frames constituted the videos. The first frame of each video sequence showed the emotional expression at 100% intensity and was presented for 300 ms to ensure the type of emotion was properly recognised [47]; the subsequent interpolated frames were shown for 30 ms each. The clips ended either in a neutral expression, in a 10% joy expression or in a 10% anger expression. The last frame remained on the screen for 300 ms. The total duration of the morph sequence was 270 ms (9×30 ms), and was 30 ms longer or shorter for clips with 10% intensity endpoints (see Figure 1). A total of 48 videos were made (8 actors×2 perceptual histories×3 endpoints).

Bottom Line: Recently it has been shown that early stages of social perception can already be influenced by (implicit) attributions made by the observer about the agent's mental state and intentions.Neutral facial expressions displayed at the end of short video-clips, in which an initial facial expression of joy or anger gradually morphed into a neutral expression, were misjudged as being slightly angry or slightly happy, respectively (Experiment 1).Underpinning neural mechanisms are discussed in relation to the current debate on action and emotion understanding.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom.

ABSTRACT
Emotional facial expressions are immediate indicators of the affective dispositions of others. Recently it has been shown that early stages of social perception can already be influenced by (implicit) attributions made by the observer about the agent's mental state and intentions. In the current study possible mechanisms underpinning distortions in the perception of dynamic, ecologically-valid, facial expressions were explored. In four experiments we examined to what extent basic perceptual processes such as contrast/context effects, adaptation and representational momentum underpinned the perceptual distortions, and to what extent 'emotional anticipation', i.e. the involuntary anticipation of the other's emotional state of mind on the basis of the immediate perceptual history, might have played a role. Neutral facial expressions displayed at the end of short video-clips, in which an initial facial expression of joy or anger gradually morphed into a neutral expression, were misjudged as being slightly angry or slightly happy, respectively (Experiment 1). This response bias disappeared when the actor's identity changed in the final neutral expression (Experiment 2). Videos depicting neutral-to-joy-to-neutral and neutral-to-anger-to-neutral sequences again produced biases but in opposite direction (Experiment 3). The bias survived insertion of a 400 ms blank (Experiment 4). These results suggested that the perceptual distortions were not caused by any of the low-level perceptual mechanisms (adaptation, representational momentum and contrast effects). We speculate that especially when presented with dynamic, facial expressions, perceptual distortions occur that reflect 'emotional anticipation' (a low-level mindreading mechanism), which overrules low-level visual mechanisms. Underpinning neural mechanisms are discussed in relation to the current debate on action and emotion understanding.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus