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Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Brain 3 Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion The human face is a remarkably communicative instrument. It is capable of producing literally thousands of unique expressions and efficiently conveying complex information about the sender’s attitudes, cognitions, and moods (see, e.g., O’Sullivan, 1982). One of its primary communicative functions, however, is the expression of emotion. Although emotion cues are conveyed verbally and through other nonverbal channels (e.g., posture, voice), the face is unparalleled in its ability to encode messages about affect accurately and efficiently (Barrett, 1993; Ekman, 1982). Part and parcel of the efficacy of the face in encoding emotion is the ability of humans to accurately decode facial affect displays. Although this ability is certainly affected by the nature of the displays themselves (e.g., whether they are spontaneous or posed; see Fujita, Harper, & Wiens, 1980), it is also influenced by characteristics of the decoder. In the present experiment, we propose that one characteristic that may affect the ability to accurately decode facial affect displays is the decoder’s neurological hemispheric dominance – that is, whether the decoder is predominantly “left brained,” predominantly “right brained,” or has mixed hemispheric dominance. Subsequently, we review research on the facial display of emotion, and then explicate our theoretic position, which is rooted in communibiology, in general, and modular theories about neurological influence, in particular. Finally, we present the questions addressed in the current investigation. Facial Affect Displays 1 In his seminal work on the expression of emotion, Darwin (1872/1965) proposed three general principles regarding forms of affect displays, the first two of which have particular

Authors: Floyd, Kory. and Mikkelson, Alan.
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Effects of Brain 3
Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for
Facial Displays of Emotion
The human face is a remarkably communicative instrument. It is capable of producing
literally thousands of unique expressions and efficiently conveying complex information about
the sender’s attitudes, cognitions, and moods (see, e.g., O’Sullivan, 1982). One of its primary
communicative functions, however, is the expression of emotion. Although emotion cues are
conveyed verbally and through other nonverbal channels (e.g., posture, voice), the face is
unparalleled in its ability to encode messages about affect accurately and efficiently (Barrett,
1993; Ekman, 1982).
Part and parcel of the efficacy of the face in encoding emotion is the ability of humans to
accurately decode facial affect displays. Although this ability is certainly affected by the nature
of the displays themselves (e.g., whether they are spontaneous or posed; see Fujita, Harper, &
Wiens, 1980), it is also influenced by characteristics of the decoder. In the present experiment,
we propose that one characteristic that may affect the ability to accurately decode facial affect
displays is the decoder’s neurological hemispheric dominance – that is, whether the decoder is
predominantly “left brained,” predominantly “right brained,” or has mixed hemispheric
dominance. Subsequently, we review research on the facial display of emotion, and then
explicate our theoretic position, which is rooted in communibiology, in general, and modular
theories about neurological influence, in particular. Finally, we present the questions addressed
in the current investigation.
Facial Affect Displays
1
In his seminal work on the expression of emotion, Darwin (1872/1965) proposed three
general principles regarding forms of affect displays, the first two of which have particular


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