The Confounded Nature of Angry Men and Happy Women

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Abstract

Findings of 7 studies suggested that decisions about the sex of a face and the emotional expressions of anger or happiness are not independent: Participants were faster and more accurate at detecting angry expressions on male faces and at detecting happy expressions on female faces. These findings were robust across different stimulus sets and judgment tasks and indicated bottom-up perceptual processes rather than just top-down conceptually driven ones. Results from additional studies in which neutrally expressive faces were used suggested that the connections between masculine features and angry expressions and between feminine features and happy expressions might be a property of the sexual dimorphism of the face itself and not merely a result of gender stereotypes biasing the perception.

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