Eyes on emotion

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The majority of emotional expressions used in daily communication are multimodal and dynamic in nature, but relatively little is known yet about how we adapt our perceptual strategies to the presence or absence of certain information. In a recent paper in the journal “Multisensory Research”, Minke de Boer and co-authors show that adding or removing audio from movies of actors speaking a made-up language while expressing various emotions has a profound influence on how observers look at these movies. When audio is added to video, the eyes shift towards the eyes and away from the nose and mouth. Even though task performance is hardly affected, apparently observers adapt their viewing strategy to the information available for the task at hand. Want to know more? Find the paper here.

Image depicting the paradigm used. On the rightmost screen, observed indicated the emotion they had perceived.