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Experimental Psychology (Russia)

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 2072-7593

ISSN (online): 2311-7036


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 2008

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


Recognition of facial expressions during step-function stroboscopic presentation

Barabanschikov V.A., Doctor in Psychology, Head of Center for Experimental Psychology, MSUPE, Moscow, Russia,
Korolkova O.A., Ph.D. in Psychology, Senior Research Associate, Center for Experimental Psychology, MSUPE, Moscow, Russia,
Lobodinskaya E.A., teacher, Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia,
We studied the perception of human facial emotional expressions during step-function stroboscopic presentation of changing mimics. Consecutive stages of each of the six basic facial expressions were pre sented to the participants: neutral face (300 ms) — expression of medium intensity (10—40 ms) — intense expression (30—120 ms) — expression of medium intensity (10—40 ms) — neutral face (100 ms). Alternative forced choice task was used to categorize the facial expressions. The results were compared to previous studies (Barabanschikov, Korolkova, Lobodinskaya, 2015; 2016), conducted using the same paradigm but with boxcar-function change of the expression: neutral face — intense expression — neutral face. We found that the dynamics of facial expression recognition, as well as errors and recognition time are almost identical in conditions of boxcar- and step-function presentation. One factor influencing the recognition rate is the proportion of presentation time of static (neutral) and changing (facial expression) aspects of the stimulus. In suboptimal conditions of facial expression perception (minimal presentation time of 10+30+10 ms and reduced intensity of expressions) we revealed stroboscopic sensibilization — a previously described phenomenon of enhanced recognition rate of low-attractive expressions (disgust, sadness, fear and anger), which has been previously found in conditions of boxcar-function presentation of expressions. We confirmed the similarity of influence of real and apparent motion on the recognition of basic facial emotional expressions.

Keywords: apparent motion, expression recognition, face stroboscopic exposition, stroboscopic sensibilization of emotional facial expression

Column: Psychology of Perception



The study was supported by Russian Science Foundation, project No 18-18-00350 “Perception in the structure of nonverbal communication”.

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