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Logo of iperceptioni-Perception
Iperception. 2011 May; 2(4): 358.
Published online 2011 May 1. doi:  10.1068/ic358
PMCID: PMC5393811

Anger Superiority in Single-Face Judgements


We investigated “anger superiority” in single-face judgements. Angry, or threatening, faces are easier to find than smiling ones (Hansen & Hansen, 1988) but it remains controversial whether this reflects emotional effects on the basis of the whole face or rather perceptual effects on the basis of parts. We sought this question differently from most previous studies that used the visual search paradigm. We presented a picture of angry, smiling, or neutral face (extracted from ATR DB99 database that has been confirmed for emotional strength) either to the left or to the right of the fixation mark, which was followed by a mask, and the participants were asked to make a forced-choice judgement of anger or smile. The results showed that neutral faces were significantly biased towards anger with upright presentation but not with inverted presentation. Angry and smiling faces were judged equally well with upright presentation, while there was notable reduction of correct responses only for angry face with inverted presentation. Difference between hemifields was not clear. The results suggest that angry faces are judged on the basis of configural processing of the whole face, while smiling faces may be judged more locally on the basis of parts.

Articles from i-Perception are provided here courtesy of SAGE Publications