Sex differences in facial emotion recognition across varying expression intensity levels from videos

Tanja S.H. Wingenbach, Chris Ashwin, Mark Brosnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

There has been much research on sex differences in the ability to recognise facial expressions of emotions, with results generally showing a female advantage in reading emotional expressions from the face. However, most of the research to date has used static images and/or ‘extreme’ examples of facial expressions. Therefore, little is known about how expression intensity and dynamic stimuli might affect the commonly reported female advantage in facial emotion recognition. The current study investigated sex differences in accuracy of response (Hu; unbiased hit rates) and response latencies for emotion recognition using short video stimuli (1sec) of 10 different facial emotion expressions (anger, disgust, fear, sadness, surprise, happiness, contempt, pride, embarrassment, neutral) across three variations in the intensity of the emotional expression (low, intermediate, high) in an adolescent and adult sample (N = 111; 51 male, 60 female) aged between 16 and 45 (M = 22.2, SD = 5.7). Overall, females showed more accurate facial emotion recognition compared to males and were faster in correctly recognising facial emotions. The female advantage in reading expressions from the faces of others was unaffected by expression intensity levels and emotion categories used in the study. The effects were specific to recognition of emotions, as males and females did not differ in the recognition of neutral faces. Together, the results showed a robust sex difference favouring females in facial emotion recognition using video stimuli of a wide range of emotions and expression intensity variations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190634
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Facial Recognition
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Sex Factors
  • Videotape Recording
  • Young Adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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