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Emotion. 2007 Aug;7(3):487-94.

Body expressions influence recognition of emotions in the face and voice.

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Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory, Tilburg University, 5000 LE Tilburg, Netherlands.


The most familiar emotional signals consist of faces, voices, and whole-body expressions, but so far research on emotions expressed by the whole body is sparse. The authors investigated recognition of whole-body expressions of emotion in three experiments. In the first experiment, participants performed a body expression-matching task. Results indicate good recognition of all emotions, with fear being the hardest to recognize. In the second experiment, two alternative forced choice categorizations of the facial expression of a compound face-body stimulus were strongly influenced by the bodily expression. This effect was a function of the ambiguity of the facial expression. In the third experiment, recognition of emotional tone of voice was similarly influenced by task irrelevant emotional body expressions. Taken together, the findings illustrate the importance of emotional whole-body expressions in communication either when viewed on their own or, as is often the case in realistic circumstances, in combination with facial expressions and emotional voices.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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