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Understanding Behavior: From Neurons to Societies

Developmental professor, grad students find that emotion detection is about more than just facial expressions

September 21, 2017

In a series of recent papers, a team of researchers from the Interpersonal Development Lab led by professor Eric Walle explored the factors that influence our perceptions of emotions. In one paper, they examined how emotion is perceived in distinct body postures. The authors successfully identified a posture for disgust, an emotion not previously linked with a specific body posture. The study also demonstrated that individuals can recognize a single emotion in a variety of different body postures, emphasizing that there is not necessarily one single posture for communicating a particular emotion. In another paper, the researchers examined the unique influences of posture and background scene on the perception of emotion facial expressions. The study found that facial expressions are influenced by cues other than facial expressions, but these effects depend on which cues are provided to the observer. The findings demonstrate that emotion perception does not depend solely on the face: other cues influence the emotion that is perceived.