Sex differences in scanning faces: does attention to the eyes explain female superiority in facial expression recognition?

Hall, Jessica K, Hutton, Sam B and Morgan, Michael J (2010) Sex differences in scanning faces: does attention to the eyes explain female superiority in facial expression recognition? Cognition and Emotion, 24 (4). pp. 629-637. ISSN 0269-9931

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Abstract

Previous meta-analyses support a female advantage in decoding non-verbal emotion (Hall, 1978, 1984), yet the mechanisms underlying this advantage are not understood. The present study examined whether the female advantage is related to greater female attention to the eyes. Eyetracking techniques were used to measure attention to the eyes in 19 males and 20 females during a facial expression recognition task. Women were faster and more accurate in their expression recognition compared with men, and women looked more at the eyes than men. Positive relationships were observed between dwell time and number of fixations to the eyes and both accuracy of facial expression recognition and speed of facial expression recognition. These results support the hypothesis that the female advantage in facial expression recognition is related to greater female attention to the eyes.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Co-author and DPhil supervisor of first author
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Michael Morgan
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:43
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2013 09:59
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14105
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