To assess the impact of context information on emotion perception, participants saw a picture of a male or female person with either a neutral, happy or sad facial expression and received information about the context in which the picture was taken. Their task was to rate the emotion actually expressed in the photo (i.e., focal emotions) as well as emotions not actually expressed (i.e., non-focal emotions) and inferences extracted from them. We predicted and found that context information affected both the perception of emotions and the inferences that the observers drew from them. Perceivers used context information in order to make sense of what was perceived to the extent that in the case of neutral expressions and for non-focal emotions, they "see" things that do not actually exist.
- Emotion recognition
- Social inferences
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology