Facial emotion recognition in violent men

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Abstract

The goal of this study was to explore the ability of violent men to recognise facial affect. In contrast to traditional approaches to this research question, we took the effects of the models' sex and different types of violent behaviour into consideration. Data obtained from 71 violent men revealed that they recognised facial expressions of fear (p = .019) and disgust (p = .013) more accurately when displayed by female than male models. The opposite was found for angry faces (p = .006), while the models' sex did not affect the recognition of sad, happy and surprised facial expressions or neutral faces. Furthermore, sexual coercion perpetrators were more accurate than other violent men in the recognition of female facial disgust (p = .006). These results are discussed in the context of social learning theory, and the hypothesis that female facial expressions of disgust could be subtle cues to their sexual infidelity that motivate sexual coercion in some men.

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