Judgment of other people's facial expressions of emotions is influenced by their concurrent affective hand movements


Jari Hietanen, Human Information Processing Laboratory, Department of Psychology, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland. Tel: +358-3-3551 6588; e-mail: jari.hietanen@uta.fi


We investigated whether emotional information from facial expression and hand movement quality was integrated when identifying the expression of a compound stimulus showing a static facial expression combined with emotionally expressive dynamic manual actions. The emotions (happiness, neutrality, and anger) expressed by the face and hands were either congruent or incongruent. In Experiment 1, the participants judged whether the stimulus person was happy, neutral, or angry. Judgments were mainly based on the facial expressions, but were affected by manual expressions to some extent. In Experiment 2, the participants were instructed to base their judgment on the facial expression only. An effect of hand movement expressive quality was observed for happy facial expressions. The results conform with the proposal that perception of facial expressions of emotions can be affected by the expressive qualities of hand movements.