Stress and Emotion Recognition: An Internet Experiment Using Stress Induction

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Past findings have lead us to assume that the decoding of emotions in facial expression is impaired in stressful situations. The effect of stress on decoding ability is examined through use of an Internet based experiment in which an episode of stress is induced in one group of participants. A fictitious “EQ online evaluation study” serves as a framework. The main task consisted in recognizing 24 emotions from facial expressions in the Ekman-Friesen-series (Ekman & Friesen, 1976), which were presented for approximately 200 ms. Data collected from 86 participants support the underlying hypotheses that stress negatively affects decoding performance. Results are discussed in terms of considerations that must be taken into account due to the method of collecting data in an Internet based study. Ethical aspects of Internet experiments are also discussed.

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