Inherently Ambiguous: Facial Expressions of Emotions, in Context

Emotion Review 5 (1):60-65 (2013)
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Abstract

With a few yet increasing number of exceptions, the cognitive sciences enthusiastically endorsed the idea that there are basic facial expressions of emotions that are created by specific configurations of facial muscles. We review evidence that suggests an inherent role for context in emotion perception. Context does not merely change emotion perception at the edges; it leads to radical categorical changes. The reviewed findings suggest that configurations of facial muscles are inherently ambiguous, and they call for a different approach towards the understanding of facial expressions of emotions. Prices of sticking with the modal view, and advantages of an expanded view, are succinctly reviewed

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Ran Hassin
Hebrew University of Jerusalem