Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2012 Oct;12(5):919-25.
doi: 10.1037/a0026119. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

Can an Anger Face Also Be Scared? Malleability of Facial Expressions

Affiliations

Can an Anger Face Also Be Scared? Malleability of Facial Expressions

Sherri C Widen et al. Emotion. .

Abstract

Do people always interpret a facial expression as communicating a single emotion (e.g., the anger face as only angry) or is that interpretation malleable? The current study investigated preschoolers' (N = 60; 3-4 years) and adults' (N = 20) categorization of facial expressions. On each of five trials, participants selected from an array of 10 facial expressions (an open-mouthed, high arousal expression and a closed-mouthed, low arousal expression each for happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) all those that displayed the target emotion. Children's interpretation of facial expressions was malleable: 48% of children who selected the fear, anger, sadness, and disgust faces for the "correct" category also selected these same faces for another emotion category; 47% of adults did so for the sadness and disgust faces. The emotion children and adults attribute to facial expressions is influenced by the emotion category for which they are looking.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Publication types

Feedback