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Learning emotional dialects: A British population study of cross-cultural communication.

The aim of the current research was to explore whether we can improve the recognition of cross-cultural freely-expressed emotional faces in British participants. We tested several methods for improving the recognition of freely-expressed emotional faces, such as different methods for presenting other-culture expressions of emotion from individuals from Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in two experimental stages. In the first experimental stage, in phase one, participants were asked to identify the emotion of cross-cultural freely-expressed faces. In the second phase, different cohorts were presented with interactive side-by-side, back-to-back and dynamic morphing of cross-cultural freely-expressed emotional faces, and control conditions. In the final phase, we repeated phase one using novel stimuli. We found that all non-control conditions led to recognition improvements. Morphing was the most effective condition for improving the recognition of cross-cultural emotional faces. In the second experimental stage, we presented morphing to different cohorts including own-to-other and other-to-own freely-expressed cross-cultural emotional faces and neutral-to-emotional and emotional-to-neutral other-culture freely-expressed emotional faces. All conditions led to recognition improvements and the presentation of freely-expressed own-to-other cultural-emotional faces provided the most effective learning. These findings suggest that training can improve the recognition of cross-cultural freely-expressed emotional expressions.

Open Access
Effects of wearing an opaque or transparent face mask on the perception of facial expressions: A comparative study between Japanese school-aged children and adults.

The negative side effects of mask-wearing on reading facial emotional cues have been investigated in several studies with adults post-2020. However, little is known about children. This study aimed to determine the negative influence of mask-wearing on reading emotions of adult faces by Japanese school-aged children, compared to Japanese adults. We also examined whether this negative influence could be alleviated by using a transparent face mask instead of an opaque one (surgical mask). The performance on reading emotions was measured using emotion categorization and emotion intensity rating tasks for adult faces. As per the findings, the accuracy of emotion recognition in children was impaired for various facial expressions (disgust, fear, happy, neutral, sad, and surprise faces), except for angry faces. Conversely, in adults, it was impaired for a few facial expressions. The perceived intensity for happy faces with a surgical mask was weaker in both children and adults than in those without the mask. A negative influence of wearing surgical masks was generally not observed for faces wearing a transparent mask in both children and adults. Thus, negative side effects of mask-wearing on reading emotions are observed for more facial expressions in children than in adults; transparent masks can help remedy these.

Stimulus intensity modulates perceived tactile distance.

Several features of tactile stimuli modulate the perceived distance between touches. In particular, distances are perceived as farther apart when the time interval between them is longer, than when it is shorter. Such effects have been interpreted as a form of 'psychological relativity', analogous to Einstein's conception of a four-dimensional space-time. We investigated whether similar effects occur for stimulus features other than time, specifically stimulus intensity. We hypothesised that perceived distance would be increased when the two stimuli differed in intensity, since they would then be farther apart in a multi-dimensional feature space. Participants made verbal estimates of the perceived distance between two touches on their left hand. Intensity was manipulated such that both stimuli could be intense, both could be light, or one could be intense and the other light. We found no evidence for change in perceived tactile distance when stimuli intensity mis-matched. In contrast, there were clear effects of average stimulus intensity on perceived distance. Intense stimuli were judged as farther apart than light stimuli, and mixed stimuli were intermediate. These results are consistent with theories of general magnitude representation, which argue that multiple dimensions of magnitude are dependent on a shared underlying representation of domain-general magnitude.