The Effect of Facial Attractiveness on Facial Expression Identification

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Abstract

Emotion perception studies typically explore how judgments of facial expressions are influenced by invariant characteristics such as sex or by variant characteristics such as gaze. However, few studies have considered the importance of factors that are not easily categorized as invariant or variant. We investigated one such factor, attractiveness, and the role it plays in judgments of emotional expression. We asked 26 participants to categorize different facial expressions (happy, neutral, and angry) that varied with respect to facial attractiveness (attractive, unattractive). Participants were significantly faster when judging expressions on attractive as compared to unattractive faces, but there was no interaction between facial attractiveness and facial expression, suggesting that the attractiveness of a face does not play an important role in the judgment of happy or angry facial expressions.

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