Perceptual learning and recognition confusion reveal the underlying relationships among the six basic emotions

Cognition and Emotion 33 (4):754-767 (2018)


ABSTRACTThe six basic emotions have long been considered discrete categories that serve as the primary units of the emotion system. Yet recent evidence indicated underlying connections among them. Here we tested the underlying relationships among the six basic emotions using a perceptual learning procedure. This technique has the potential of causally changing participants’ emotion detection ability. We found that training on detecting a facial expression improved the performance not only on the trained expression but also on other expressions. Such a transfer effect was consistently demonstrated between disgust and anger detection as well as between fear and surprise detection in two experiments. Notably, training on any of the six emotions could improve happiness detection, while sadness detection could only be improved by training on sadness itself, suggesting the uniqueness of happiness and sadness....

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