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Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Brain 23 Limitations and Conclusions The primary limitation of the current study is its reliance on an undergraduate sample. The education level, modal age, and lack of variance in age make generalization beyond this population problematic. Of course, if hemispheric dominance influences perception and interpretation of communicative behavior, then there is little reason to assume that it would not exert the same types of effects across ages or education levels; alternatively, hemispheric dominance may interact with these characteristics to influence perception. Investigation of these possibilities must be deferred to future studies, however. A similar limitation may be our use of such a simple decoding task, although the high amount of variability we observed in respondents’ accuracy across the various emotions argues against that. However, it is certainly conceivable that hemispheric dominance (either alone or in combination with biological sex) could exert different forms of influence on different types of decoding tasks. Future research could examine these possibilities using tasks that demand a higher level of discrimination (e.g., tasks that require the participant to ascertain dimensions of affect displays, rather than simply their categories). A third limitation may implicate the nature of the pretest we used to determine hemispheric dominance. As Bodary and Miller (2000) pointed out, using a battery of self-report measures as we did in our pretest is certainly not a state-of-the-art approach. Because they are such low-inference measures, they are preferable to alternative self-report measures (such as the HBDI or SOLAT; see Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987; Rich, 1989). However, a more sophisticated approach, using PET or fMRI, could be used to “map” the specific regions of the brain that are activated in a facial emotion decoding task and could be used to differentiate patterns in individuals’ hemispheric processing.

Authors: Floyd, Kory. and Mikkelson, Alan.
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Effects of Brain 23
Limitations and Conclusions
The primary limitation of the current study is its reliance on an undergraduate sample.
The education level, modal age, and lack of variance in age make generalization beyond this
population problematic. Of course, if hemispheric dominance influences perception and
interpretation of communicative behavior, then there is little reason to assume that it would not
exert the same types of effects across ages or education levels; alternatively, hemispheric
dominance may interact with these characteristics to influence perception. Investigation of these
possibilities must be deferred to future studies, however.
A similar limitation may be our use of such a simple decoding task, although the high
amount of variability we observed in respondents’ accuracy across the various emotions argues
against that. However, it is certainly conceivable that hemispheric dominance (either alone or in
combination with biological sex) could exert different forms of influence on different types of
decoding tasks. Future research could examine these possibilities using tasks that demand a
higher level of discrimination (e.g., tasks that require the participant to ascertain dimensions of
affect displays, rather than simply their categories).
A third limitation may implicate the nature of the pretest we used to determine
hemispheric dominance. As Bodary and Miller (2000) pointed out, using a battery of self-report
measures as we did in our pretest is certainly not a state-of-the-art approach. Because they are
such low-inference measures, they are preferable to alternative self-report measures (such as the
HBDI or SOLAT; see Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987; Rich, 1989). However, a more
sophisticated approach, using PET or fMRI, could be used to “map” the specific regions of the
brain that are activated in a facial emotion decoding task and could be used to differentiate
patterns in individuals’ hemispheric processing.


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