Affective theory of mind inferences contextually influence the recognition of emotional facial expressions

Stewart, Suzanne, Schepman, Astrid, Haigh, Matthew, McHugh, Rhian and Stewart, Andrew (2019) Affective theory of mind inferences contextually influence the recognition of emotional facial expressions. Cognition and Emotion, 33 (2). pp. 272-287. ISSN 0269-9931

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1450224

Abstract

The recognition of emotional facial expressions is often subject to contextual influence, particularly when the face and the context convey similar emotions. We investigated whether spontaneous, incidental affective theory of mind inferences made while reading vignettes describing social situations would produce context effects on the identification of same-valenced emotions (Experiment 1) as well as differently-valenced emotions (Experiment 2) conveyed by subsequently presented faces. Crucially, we found an effect of context on reaction times in both experiments while, in line with previous work, we found evidence for a context effect on accuracy only in Experiment 1. This demonstrates that affective theory of mind inferences made at the pragmatic level of a text can automatically, contextually influence the perceptual processing of emotional facial expressions in a separate task even when those emotions are of a distinctive valence. Thus, our novel findings suggest that language acts as a contextual influence to the recognition of emotional facial expressions for both same and different valences.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: theory of mind; inference; emotion; context; face processing
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Matthew Haigh
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2018 10:41
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 21:03
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/33592

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