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PLoS One. 2010 May 14;5(5):e10640. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010640.

Associations between feeling and judging the emotions of happiness and fear: findings from a large-scale field experiment.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, Missouri, United States of America. tbuchan7@slu.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

How do we recognize emotions from other people? One possibility is that our own emotional experiences guide us in the online recognition of emotion in others. A distinct but related possibility is that emotion experience helps us to learn how to recognize emotions in childhood.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We explored these ideas in a large sample of people (N = 4,608) ranging from 5 to over 50 years old. Participants were asked to rate the intensity of emotional experience in their own lives, as well as to perform a task of facial emotion recognition. Those who reported more intense experience of fear and happiness were significantly more accurate (closer to prototypical) in recognizing facial expressions of fear and happiness, respectively, and intense experience of fear was associated also with more accurate recognition of surprised and happy facial expressions. The associations held across all age groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

These results suggest that the intensity of one's own emotional experience of fear and happiness correlates with the ability to recognize these emotions in others, and demonstrate such an association as early as age 5.

PMID:
20498838
PMCID:
PMC2871050
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0010640
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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