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Current theory and research on the emotions have tended to overlook the importance and possible role of perception on the activation of or change in the feeling states of the individual. Consequently the interaction of the perceptual subsystem with the individual in a predictive or behavioral way has likewise been largely ignored by emotion researchers. Ironically other fields of research give us some insight into the perceptual and affective processes. In this study subjects were presented with thirty different photographs of people posing in several different emotions. In addition to asking some “traditional” questions as identifying the emotion expressed or rating how strongly or well the emotions were communicated, subjects were also asked to make predictions as to how often they would either see or perform each expression. The pattern of results obtained was generally consistent with what was expected, and were important in at least two ways: (1) Neutral expressions were found to vary in similar ways with other affective expressions, implying that what we have been considering as neutral may in actuality be a lower-level interaction of affects, rather than a state of non-affect; (2) these results open the way for studies involving the process of perception, and provide a framework from which we can describe the role of the perceptual subsystem within the affect system.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1983-01-01

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