Two mechanisms for coding emotions from bodily actions

Joanna Wincenciak, Tjeerd Jellema, Nick Barraclough

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Face aftereffects (AE) have been widely applied to study face coding and have provided support for partially independent coding of facial expressions and facial identity (Ellamil, Susskind, & Anderson, 2008; Fox & Barton, 2007). We can, however, also recognize the identity of other individuals and infer their emotional states by observing their bodily actions. We investigated the mechanisms involved in coding emotions and identity from whole body actions using a visual adaptation paradigm. Following adaptation to happy or sad actions, participants judged the subsequent action as having the opposite emotion. This bias was significantly stronger when the identity of the actor in the adapting and test stimuli was the same. For both conditions (same and different identity) magnitude of emotional action aftereffects increased with the duration of the adapting stimuli. Only the different identity AE decayed over time (absent by 10.8 seconds). These findings suggest that emotional action aftereffects for same and different identity actors rely on different mechanisms. For different identity conditions, aftereffects showed similar dynamics as for other high-level aftereffects; whereas for the same identity condition, adaptation appeared to produce a long lasting recalibration of the perceived emotion derived from the actions of the observed individual.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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