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Mixed emotions: Holistic and analytic perception of facial expressions

S. Butler, J. Tanaka, M. Kaiser, R. Le Grand
2010 Journal of Vision  
In the face literature, it is debated whether the identification of facial expressions requires holistic (i.e., whole face) or analytic (i.e., parts-based) information. In this study, happy and angry composite expressions were created in which the top and bottom face halves formed either an incongruent (e.g., angry top ' happy bottom) or congruent composite expression (e.g., happy top ' happy bottom). Participants reported the expression in the target top or bottom half of the face. In
more » ... e face. In Experiment 1, the target half in the incongruent condition was identified less accurately and more slowly relative to the baseline isolated expression or neutral face conditions. In contrast, no differences were found between congruent and the baseline conditions. In Experiment 2, the effects of exposure duration were tested by presenting faces for 20, 60, 100 and 120 ms. Interference effects for the incongruent faces appeared at the earliest 20 ms interval and persisted for the 60, 100 and 120 ms intervals. In contrast, no differences were found between the congruent and baseline face conditions at any exposure interval. In Experiment 3, it was found that spatial alignment impaired the recognition of incongruent expressions, but had no effect on congruent expressions. These results are discussed in terms of holistic and analytic processing of facial expressions.
doi:10.1167/9.8.496 fatcat:aipwdvoopfa6pat5c66tn756fy