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Effects of Brain Laterality on Decoding Accuracy for Facial Displays of Emotion
Unformatted Document Text:  Effects of Brain 7 That communication behavior should be grounded in biological characteristics is anathema for some in the communication discipline, most of whom have been trained, in the tradition of learning theories (e.g., Bandura, 1971), to focus on the influences of one’s social environment as the primary predictor of behavior. This learning theory perspective espouses that communication behavior is primarily learned and thus should show consistency within sets of environmental influences (such as traditions, reinforcements, or characteristics of the physical environment) and variability across sets. The communibiological approach does not reject the influence of environmental factors; rather, it proposes that biological characteristics account for more variance in communicative behavior than do environmental characteristics. It further holds that any environmental or social construct posited to influence behavior must be consistent with what is known about neurological physiology, and that constructs that are inconsistent with what is known about neurology cannot be viable. As a paradigm, communibiology provides a focused point of departure for the development of specific models and theories about communication behavior, insofar as it conceptualizes such behavior as the expression of neurological activity. In developing such theories, then, the researcher is faced with the task of drawing connections between particular aspects of neurology and particular behavioral tendencies. Indeed, researchers in some fields have focused on “mapping the brain” to identify the region or regions that are responsible for specific behaviors (see, e.g., Morton, 1986). Herein, we apply the principles of one such approach – that of hemispheric dominance – to the study of facial affect decoding. Specifically, our goal in the present experiment is to ascertain whether hemispheric dominance, alone or in its interaction with biological sex, influences the accuracy with which people decode and interpret facial affect displays. We discuss relevant principles of hemispheric dominance subsequently.

Authors: Floyd, Kory. and Mikkelson, Alan.
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Effects of Brain 7
That communication behavior should be grounded in biological characteristics is
anathema for some in the communication discipline, most of whom have been trained, in the
tradition of learning theories (e.g., Bandura, 1971), to focus on the influences of one’s social
environment as the primary predictor of behavior. This learning theory perspective espouses that
communication behavior is primarily learned and thus should show consistency within sets of
environmental influences (such as traditions, reinforcements, or characteristics of the physical
environment) and variability across sets. The communibiological approach does not reject the
influence of environmental factors; rather, it proposes that biological characteristics account for
more variance in communicative behavior than do environmental characteristics. It further holds
that any environmental or social construct posited to influence behavior must be consistent with
what is known about neurological physiology, and that constructs that are inconsistent with what
is known about neurology cannot be viable.
As a paradigm, communibiology provides a focused point of departure for the
development of specific models and theories about communication behavior, insofar as it
conceptualizes such behavior as the expression of neurological activity. In developing such
theories, then, the researcher is faced with the task of drawing connections between particular
aspects of neurology and particular behavioral tendencies. Indeed, researchers in some fields
have focused on “mapping the brain” to identify the region or regions that are responsible for
specific behaviors (see, e.g., Morton, 1986). Herein, we apply the principles of one such
approach – that of hemispheric dominance – to the study of facial affect decoding. Specifically,
our goal in the present experiment is to ascertain whether hemispheric dominance, alone or in its
interaction with biological sex, influences the accuracy with which people decode and interpret
facial affect displays. We discuss relevant principles of hemispheric dominance subsequently.


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