The effects of facial expressions and tears on the speed of sex recognition

Domagoj Švegar, Nadalia Fiamengo, Marija Grundler, Igor Kardum
Published Online:
15 Jan 2016
Volume/Issue No:
Early View Articles

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The goal of this research was to examine the effects of facial expressions on the speed of sex recognition. Prior research revealed that sex recognition of female angry faces was slower compared with male angry faces and that female happy faces are recognized faster than male happy faces. We aimed to replicate and extend the previous research by using different set of facial stimuli, different methodological approach and also by examining the effects of some other previously unexplored expressions (such as crying) on the speed of sex recognition. In the first experiment, we presented facial stimuli of men and women displaying anger, fear, happiness, sadness, crying and three control conditions expressing no emotion. Results showed that sex recognition of angry females was significantly slower compared with sex recognition in any other condition, while sad, crying, happy, frightened and neutral expressions did not impact the speed of sex recognition. In the second experiment, we presented angry, neutral and crying expressions in blocks and again only sex recognition of female angry expressions was slower compared with all other expressions. The results are discussed in a context of perceptive features of male and female facial configuration, evolutionary theory and social learning context.

© 2016 International Union of Psychological Science