Psychophysical measures of sensitivity to facial expression of emotion.
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We report the development of two simple, objective, psychophysical measures of the ability to discriminate facial expressions of emotion that vary in intensity from a neutral facial expression and to discriminate between varying intensities of emotional facial expression. The stimuli were created by morphing photographs of models expressing four basic emotions, anger, disgust, happiness, and sadness with neutral expressions. Psychometric functions were obtained for 15 healthy young adults using the Method of Constant Stimuli with a two-interval forced-choice procedure. Individual data points were fitted by Quick functions for each task and each emotion, allowing estimates of absolute thresholds and slopes. The tasks give objective and sensitive measures of the basic perceptual abilities required for perceiving and interpreting emotional facial expressions.
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