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Role of facial familiarity and emotional expression intensity in ensemble emotion perception

Awad, Deema, Emery, Nathan and Mareschal, Isabelle (2023) Role of facial familiarity and emotional expression intensity in ensemble emotion perception. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 85 (6). 1990 - 2003. ISSN 1943-3921

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Identification Number: 10.3758/s13414-023-02720-6


When looking at groups of people, we can extract information from the different faces to derive properties of the group, such as its average facial emotion, although how this average is computed remains a matter of debate. Here, we examined whether our participants' personal familiarity with the faces in the group, as well as the intensity of the facial expressions, biased ensemble perception. Participants judged the average emotional expression of ensembles of four different identities whose expressions depicted either neutral, angry, or happy emotions. For the angry and happy expressions, the intensity of the emotion could be either low (e.g., slightly happy) or high (very happy). When all the identities in the ensemble were unfamiliar, the presence of any high intensity emotional face biased ensemble perception towards its emotion. However, when a familiar face was present in the ensemble, perception was biased towards the familiar face's emotion regardless of its intensity. These findings reveal that how we perceive the average emotion of a group is influenced by both the emotional intensity and familiarity of the faces comprising the group, supporting the idea that different faces may be weighted differently in ensemble perception. These findings have important implications for the judgements we make about a group's overall emotional state may be biased by individuals within the group.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 Crown
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 10 May 2023 15:15
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 18:33

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