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Br J Soc Psychol. 1995 Sep;34 ( Pt 3):325-34.

Emotional expression in upside-down faces: evidence for configurational and componential processing.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada.


In two experiments, a total of 126 subjects judged the seven emotional expressions of Ekman & Friesen's (1976) pictures of facial affect presented upright or inverted. Inversion reduced accuracy for sad, fear, anger and disgust, and sad was identified as neutral. However, happy was identified almost perfectly on upright and inverted faces, and both anger and disgust were identified significantly often on inverted faces. In addition, the classic confusions between surprise and fear and between disgust and anger occurred on both upright and inverted faces. It is argued that expressions are difficult to identify on inverted faces when they are based on configural information. However, accurate performance on inverted faces and similar confusions on upright and inverted faces are due to componential processing.

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