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A differing bidirectional impact on the recognition accuracy of facial expression


  • We thank all the participants for their contribution to this study. We thank Robert Mather for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript and Buxin Han for helpful comments on the manuscript; thank the Chinese Ministry of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Fund (No. 12JJD190002) for supporting this research. The two first authors contributed equally to this study. JW, BS and WL conceived and designed the experiment. JW, PL, YZ and XJ performed the experiment. JW, YC and MV analysed the data. JW, BS and WL, XL wrote the paper.


This study explored a bidirectional impact on the recognition accuracy of various facial expressions deriving from both the observer and sender in a sample of Chinese participants. A facial manipulation task was used to examine the ability of an observer's facial feedback to modulate the recognition of various facial expressions. Furthermore, the effect of a sender's facial expression with an open or closed mouth on recognition accuracy was investigated. The results showed that only recognition accuracy of a sad facial expression was influenced simultaneously by bidirectional sources from a sender and observer. Moreover, the impact of the unidirectional cue of a sender's facial feature (i.e., mouth openness) on happy and neutral faces was found to influence the recognition accuracy of these faces, but not the observer's bodily state. These findings indicate that the bidirectional impact derived from an observer and sender on facial expression recognition accuracy differs for emotional and neutral expressions.