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Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Brain 21 make their already superior decoding skills even sharper. For men, the opposite effect is observed. The difference highlights the extent to which neurological processing tendencies are moderated by biological sex. Similar results have been reported in studies of spatial ability, such as those conducted by Harshman, Hampton, and Berenbaum (1983), Sanders, Wilson, and Vanderberg (1982), and Yen (1975). SD and AD men and women were grouped together in the middle of the distribution of decoding skills. This suggests that being predominantly left-brained or predominantly right- brained mattered little in a simple affect decoding task. Not only were these four cells grouped together in the middle of the distribution, but they varied little from each other. SD males and AD males differed the most (a mean difference of .73), but there was only a .13 difference (on a ten-point scale) between AD males and AD females, and only a .14 difference between AD males and SD females. Mixed hemispheric dominance appeared to manifest the greatest variability. Whether a higher level of variance among the types of hemispheric dominance might emerge under more cognitively demanding decoding tasks awaits investigation in future experiments. In our analysis for the fourth research question, we discovered that participants correctly decoded the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, fear and surprise 94.1% of the time, but correctly decoded the remaining (more complex) emotions only 35.4% of the time. By comparison, participants in Leathers and Emigh’s (1980) study decoded expressions of the basic emotions with only slightly greater accuracy (95.1%) than did our participants. However, Leathers and Emigh’s participants decoded expressions of the complex emotions with considerably greater accuracy (86.8%). The exact reason for this difference in decoding accuracy is unknown, but one obvious possibility is that, because Leathers and Emigh’s

Authors: Floyd, Kory. and Mikkelson, Alan.
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Effects of Brain 21
make their already superior decoding skills even sharper. For men, the opposite effect is
observed. The difference highlights the extent to which neurological processing tendencies are
moderated by biological sex. Similar results have been reported in studies of spatial ability, such
as those conducted by Harshman, Hampton, and Berenbaum (1983), Sanders, Wilson, and
Vanderberg (1982), and Yen (1975).
SD and AD men and women were grouped together in the middle of the distribution of
decoding skills. This suggests that being predominantly left-brained or predominantly right-
brained mattered little in a simple affect decoding task. Not only were these four cells grouped
together in the middle of the distribution, but they varied little from each other. SD males and
AD males differed the most (a mean difference of .73), but there was only a .13 difference (on a
ten-point scale) between AD males and AD females, and only a .14 difference between AD
males and SD females. Mixed hemispheric dominance appeared to manifest the greatest
variability. Whether a higher level of variance among the types of hemispheric dominance might
emerge under more cognitively demanding decoding tasks awaits investigation in future
experiments.
In our analysis for the fourth research question, we discovered that participants correctly
decoded the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, fear and surprise 94.1% of the time, but
correctly decoded the remaining (more complex) emotions only 35.4% of the time. By
comparison, participants in Leathers and Emigh’s (1980) study decoded expressions of the basic
emotions with only slightly greater accuracy (95.1%) than did our participants. However,
Leathers and Emigh’s participants decoded expressions of the complex emotions with
considerably greater accuracy (86.8%). The exact reason for this difference in decoding
accuracy is unknown, but one obvious possibility is that, because Leathers and Emigh’s


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