There have been many reports looking into whether some emotions expressed in the facial skin are detected quicker than others. Many believe that negative thoughts such as anger would be recognized quicker than positive feelings such as pleasure as negative emotions suggest something disrupting the surroundings which could result in a threat to the individual perceiving the emotions. Most of the research has focussed on anger and delight, with some research on fear.
Hansen and Hansen (1988) conducted a search job where the members had to check out the encounters of nine different individuals offered in dark-colored and white images. Participants had two keys; that they had to press a key if the nine faces conveyed the same sentiment. On the other 54 tests, if there is one discrepant face (a face that shows a different sentiment), the participants had to press some other key. The three feelings conveyed were anger, enjoyment and natural. The results proved that anger 'was recognized relatively quickly and effectively when offered in the natural or happy masses' (Hansen and Hansen, 1988). Neutral faces within an angry crowd weren't detected as efficiently, this is the same for a happy face within an angry crowd. This may be because angry encounters might keep attention for longer. This helps the face-in-the-crowd impact known as anger-superiority effect which is where an furious face is comparatively easy to find among a neutral or happy group. It links back to you to the theory that we have designed to discovering negative emotions quickly.
However Hansen and Hansen (1988) admitted that the results weren't as logical as it first appears, one of these is a discrepant neutral face was rather easy to discover inside a happy and no explanation as to the reasons. Hansen and Hansen conducted another experiment, and used the same person atlanta divorce attorneys picture. All of the trials got a discrepant face within it, and the participants had to locate this face. The group display was shown to the individuals and then masked by scrambled characters. It was found overall that members needed less time to identify an angry face in a happy masses than a happy face in an angry crowd; aiding the original experiment.
Purcell, Stewart and Skov (1996) didn't replicate Hansen and Hansen's (1988) results using the search task. They concluded that maybe there was some irrelevant feature on the Hansen and Hansen's pictures including the angry faces containing dark patches causing anger to be found more efficiently.
Fox et al (2000) conducted four tests which show that anger is recognized quicker than a neutral or happy appearance. Test one was conducted in a similar way to Hansen and Hansen (1988). It required participants to press 1 of 2 tips, one for when all the encounters in their display conveyed the same feeling, or the other key when one discrepant face was present. 'The comparison between a discrepant irritated face in a natural crowd and a happy face in a neutral crowd provides direct way of measuring the speed of diagnosis of furious and happy encounters retrospectively' (Fox et al, 2000). The tests with the four furious encounters was more mistake prone compared to when these were happy suggesting that angry encounters disrupt attention finalizing more than happy faces.
Another experiment was implemented up as with test one 40% of the individuals made errors (this has been explained because of the short timeframe the encounters were shown). The subjection time of the stimulus was increased; this increased exactness and time. The results showed no difference between 'all angry' faces and 'all happy' encounters. This suggests that the upsurge in time overcame the disruption attention processing in the upset faces. This shows that whenever a person only has a short time to process feelings then anger may have priority over contentment. The results from the second experiment supported that of the first as on the different shows, the discrepant face was discovered faster when the facial skin was angry somewhat than happy in a neutral crowd.
However, the previous tests results could be because of the mental expressions being shown, if it wasn't then when the encounters were inverted with the same features present, results should remain similar. 'There was no difference between the three same displays on the other hand when the fasces were shown upright' (Fox et al, 2000). They then decided to remove the eyebrows (test four) to clear any criticism than it being due to the change in eyebrow shape. 'Finding the miserable/angry face in a neutral group was faster and much more accurate than locating the happy face in a natural masses' (Fox et al, 2000) Therefore showing anger is recognized faster than enjoyment.
The previous research is supported by Eastwood, Smilek, and Merikle (2001). They embedded negative faces into shows of encounters with a neutral expression. The amount of distractor encounters with a natural expression varied extensively from 7 to 19 encounters. The participants acquired to show the spatial located area of the goal. The results revealed that the 'negative face guided focal attention much better than performed the positive face' (Eastwood, Smilek, and Merikle, 2001). The experiment was repeated using inverted faces and there was no change in the results obtained therefore exhibiting anger is found faster again.
The research above is hard to generalise as most of the members were undergraduates. Ruffman and Jenkin (2009) looked at the variations in young and old people in figuring out emotion encounters. The experiment consisted of participants taking a look at nine encounters where either all the faces were similar in displaying a neutral expression or with one discrepant face. Both adults and the young were faster at discovering anger in a discrepant face than happiness. This remained with photographs of real people and schematic encounters. This shows that regardless of years, anger is processed quicker than happiness or a natural face.
However, Juth et al (2005) discovers conflicting information with Ruffman and Jenkin (2009) finding that happy encounters are quicker to find. Eight photographic (shade) cosmetic images of different individuals were used and the orientation of the head to the participant changed, so it wasn't always straight facing them. This increased ecological validity as they created a more sensible situation as humans encounter facial feelings at different angles. The orientation is also useful as it checks how strong the anger-superiority-effect is as it should be very widespread when the angry face was looking directly at the participant. However it was the happy encounters that stood away. Suggesting that the anger-superiority-effect is probably not as clear trim as it first felt.
Aside from the face-in-the-crowd research, other methods have been pursued to investigate expression processing, one being the flanker task. It had been originated by Erikson and Erikson (1974) using characters. The thought of the flanking activity is a central focus on is flanked on each part by the distractor. Erikson at first conducted it using letters, however, Fenske and Eastwood (2003) used faces with a central target flanked by a poor or positive feelings. The reaction of the members was fast whatever the expression of the flanker faces if the target showed a poor emotion, this supports the original idea of negative emotions causing faster processing. When the central goal was a happy face, there was flanker disturbance. This called flanker asymmetry result where positive expressions flanked by negative expressions suffer from more interference than negative expressions flanked by positive expressions. The results were interpreted as negative thoughts hold attention because they are not affected by the flanker encounters.
However when Hostmann et al (2006) replicated the essential effects using more complicated schematic faces, so that it is more about perceptual characteristics of the encounters than psychological valence, the results of Fenske and Eastwood (2003) weren't replicated. This contributes a cautionary word when looking at tests into facial processing as the stimuli used can transform the results considerably. This is supported by Pessoa, Japee and Ungerleider (2005) who looked at identifying fearful faces. Individuals were shown a aim for face, that was then masked by another face. The prospective face was fearful, happy or natural. The participants were asked to state whether the focus on face showed dread or no dread and then rate their assurance on their answer. There was huge variability in the results. The test concludes that some individuals were consistently aware of the masked face resulting in the belief that evidence should be taken in caution with claims affecting masking and quick sentiment processing.
Another way to check out Empirical information with the speed of detecting thoughts in the facial skin is looking at top-down goals. Hahn and Gronlund (2007) used a visible search paradigm to see how top-down handling modifies attentional bias for intimidating facial expressions. The data could be utilized to make clear the other proof mentioned previously such as Hansen and Hansen (1988). Two experiments were conducted; one consisted of participants buying discrepant facial expression in a crowd of the same faces. The results recognized the research mentioned previously as the effect time (RT) was quicker for 'when the target face was irritated than when it was happy. ' (Hahn and Grunlund, 2007) The second test required top-down handling where participants had to find a certain kind of facial expression. In case the screen included a focus on, the RT was quicker for the upset than the happy face. Again this facilitates the research above. However, Hahn and Grunlund (2007) found that 'when an upset or happy face was within the display in opposition to the task goal, the RT was equal. ' It can be concluded out of this information that the existence of an upset face in the opposition activity didn't support the earlier mentioned thesis of anger-superiority-effect. Furthermore, the angry face might carry attention but this only happens if a specific focus on is not present. However 'in the existence of a particular goal, the efficiency of cosmetic expression search is dependent on the mixed influence of the top-down goal and the stimulus characteristics. ' (Hahn and Grunlund, 2007).
Fear in addition has been researched but not to such a great level. Vuilleumier, Armony, Driver, and Dolan (2003) discovered that the amygdala process LSF (low spatial occurrence) images; images that are very quickly processed but in course depth, and is constantly triggered by fearful faces, even if they're not consciously perceived by the person. Knowing that fear has its own recognition system within the brain might claim that it is found quicker than other emotions that might not need an unbiased detector.
Overall, it could be concluded that there is certainly information that some emotions are processed quicker than others. Though it has additionally become aware, that the evidence must be looked at in light of the research, for example, schematic encounters revealed anger was discovered quicker, but this wasn't always conveyed to true to life photographs, where happiness was sometimes been shown to be the quicker emotion found. However, knowing fear has its detecting system, and the amygdala is actually subconsciously detecting fearful faces shows that maybe fear is recognized quicker. Juth et al (2005) summed in the experiments into detecting emotions in the facial skin by stating 'there are several aspects of visual seek out emotional faces that are inadequately understood'. This might clarify why so much of the study is contradictory, as no one knows why the anger-supriority impact definitely exists, or why delight is sometimes recognized quicker.