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Emotion. 2009 Oct;9(5):691-704. doi: 10.1037/a0017088.

Emotion recognition from expressions in face, voice, and body: the Multimodal Emotion Recognition Test (MERT).

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Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


Emotion recognition ability has been identified as a central component of emotional competence. We describe the development of an instrument that objectively measures this ability on the basis of actor portrayals of dynamic expressions of 10 emotions (2 variants each for 5 emotion families), operationalized as recognition accuracy in 4 presentation modes combining the visual and auditory sense modalities (audio/video, audio only, video only, still picture). Data from a large validation study, including construct validation using related tests (Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity; Rosenthal, Hall, DiMatteo, Rogers, & Archer, 1979; Japanese and Caucasian Facial Expressions of Emotion; Biehl et al., 1997; Diagnostic Analysis of Nonverbal Accuracy; Nowicki & Duke, 1994; Emotion Recognition Index; Scherer & Scherer, 2008), are reported. The results show the utility of a test designed to measure both coarse and fine-grained emotion differentiation and modality-specific skills. Factor analysis of the data suggests 2 separate abilities, visual and auditory recognition, which seem to be largely independent of personality dispositions.

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