Relative Contributions of Face and Body Configurations: Perceiving Emotional State and Motion Intention

Document Type



Psychology (CMC)

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This study addressed the relative reliance on face and body configurations for different types of emotion-related judgements: emotional state and motion intention. Participants viewed images of people with either emotionally congruent (both angry or fearful) or incongruent (angry/fearful; fearful/angry) faces and bodies. Congruent conditions provided baseline responses. Incongruent conditions revealed relative reliance on face and body information for different judgements. Body configurations influenced motion-intention judgements more than facial configurations: incongruent pairs with angry bodies were more frequently perceived as moving forward than those with fearful bodies; pairs with fearful bodies were more frequently perceived as moving away. In contrast, faces influenced emotional-state judgements more, but bodies moderated ratings of face emotion. Thus, both face and body configurations influence emotion perception, but the type of evaluation required influences their relative contributions. These findings highlight the importance of considering both the face and body as important sources of emotion information.

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© 2012 Psychology Press, an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business