UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The role of context in the perception of emotion from facial expression Carrol, James M.


In studies of emotion perception, an emphasis has been placed on the importance of facial information (Ekman, Friesen, and Ellsworth, 1972). One line of research suggests that facial information dominates contextual information in the perception of emotion (Frijda 1968; Watson, 1972; Walbott, 1988). The general procedure in this type of research has been to provide a scenario (context) in which a person may exhibit an emotion and then to show a picture of presumably their facial expression in that situation. According to previous research, when the face and context provide discrepant information, subjects' judgments tend to resemble the facial information more than the contextual information. The goal of the present studies was to examine 1) whether contextual stimuli could be created to dominate facial expressions of basic emotions and 2) whether the linear model assumed in research in cue dominance is an appropriate description of how emotion is perceived from face and context. Three studies were conducted using a similar procedure to the one described above. Study 1 showed that context dominance could occur for contexts referring to basic emotions. Study showed that context dominance could occur for contexts referring to non-basic emotions. Study 3 showed that judgments of face and context combined are not necessarily linearly related to judgments of face and context alone.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.