Emotion Words: Adding Face Value
Despite a growing number of studies suggesting that emotion words affect perceptual judgments of emotional stimuli, little is known about how emotion words affect perceptual memory for emotional faces. In Experiments 1 and 2 we tested how emotion words (compared with control words) affected participants’ abilities to select a target emotional face from among distractor faces. Participants were generally more likely to false alarm to distractor emotional faces when primed with an emotion word congruent with the face (compared with a control word). Moreover, participants showed both decreased sensitivity (d′) to discriminate between target and distractor faces, as well as altered response biases (c; more likely to answer “yes”) when primed with an emotion word (compared with a control word). In Experiment 3 we showed that emotion words had more of an effect on perceptual memory judgments when the structural information in the target face was limited, as well as when participants were only able to categorize the face with a partially congruent emotion word. The overall results are consistent with the idea that emotion words affect the encoding of emotional faces in perceptual memory.