Processing orientation and emotion recognition

Douglas Martin, Gillian Slessor, Roy Allen, Louise H. Phillips, Stephen Darling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


There is evidence that some emotional expressions are characterized by diagnostic cues from individual face features. For example, an upturned mouth is indicative of happiness, whereas a furrowed brow is associated with anger. The current investigation explored whether motivating people to perceive stimuli in a local (i.e., feature-based) rather than global (i.e., holistic) processing orientation was advantageous for recognizing emotional facial expressions. Participants classified emotional faces while primed with local and global processing orientations, via a Navon letter task. Contrary to previous findings for identity recognition, the current findings are indicative of a modest advantage for face emotion recognition under conditions of local processing orientation. When primed with a local processing orientation, participants performed both significantly faster and more accurately on an emotion recognition task than when they were primed with a global processing orientation. The impacts of this finding for theories of emotion recognition and face processing are considered. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Article number-
Pages (from-to)39-43
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Early online date15 Aug 2011
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


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