On the clarity of expressive and contextual information in the recognition of emotions: A methodological critique

Authors

  • Jose-Miguel Fernandez-Dols,

    Corresponding author
    1. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
    • Facultad de Psicologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. E-28049 Madrid, Spain
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  • Benjamin Sierra,

    Corresponding author
    1. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
    • Facultad de Psicologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. E-28049 Madrid, Spain
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  • M. Angeles Ruiz-Belda

    Corresponding author
    1. Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain
    • Facultad de Psicologia, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid. E-28049 Madrid, Spain
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Abstract

Ekman, Friesen and Ellsworth's (1982b) influential review on emotional expression and context prescribed the current standard criteria for selecting clear and comparable faces and contexts. These recommendations might not pay enough attention to the peculiarities of contextual information. Criteria of clarity for contextual stimuli should be grounded in the process of categorization of social situations (e.g. prototypicality and salience). A set of criteria of contextual clarity were designed according to this line of argument. The resulting contextual stimuli were employed in a replication of Wallbott's (1988) experiment on recognition of emotions through discrepant sources of information. In contrast with previous studies, subjects' judgments were equally predictable from expression and context.

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