Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 30 August 2011 | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00206

Matching faces with emotional expressions

Wenfeng Chen1, Karen Lander2 and Chang Hong Liu3*
  • 1 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2 School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  • 3 Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Hull, UK

There is some evidence that faces with a happy expression are recognized better than faces with other expressions. However, little is known about whether this happy-face advantage also applies to perceptual face matching, and whether similar differences exist among other expressions. Using a sequential matching paradigm, we systematically compared the effects of seven basic facial expressions on identity recognition. Identity matching was quickest when a pair of faces had an identical happy/sad/neutral expression, poorer when they had a fearful/surprise/angry expression, and poorest when they had a disgust expression. Faces with a happy/sad/fear/surprise expression were matched faster than those with an anger/disgust expression when the second face in a pair had a neutral expression. These results demonstrate that effects of facial expression on identity recognition are not limited to happy-faces when a learned face is immediately tested. The results suggest different influences of expression in perceptual matching and long-term recognition memory.

Keywords: facial expression, identity recognition, face matching

Citation: Chen W, Lander K and Liu CH (2011) Matching faces with emotional expressions. Front. Psychology 2:206. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00206

Received: 03 May 2011; Accepted: 12 August 2011;
Published online: 30 August 2011.

Edited by:

Marina A. Pavlova, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Golijeh Golarai, Stanford University, USA
Susanne Leiberg, University of Zurich, Switzerland

Copyright: © 2011 Chen, Lander and Liu. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Chang Hong Liu, Department of Psychology, University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, HU6 7RX, UK. e-mail: c.h.liu@hull.ac.uk

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