Reading the Lines in the Face: The Contribution of Angularity and Roundness to Perceptions of Facial Anger and Joy

Robert G. Franklin, Reginald B. Adams, Troy G. Steiner, Leslie A. Zebrowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Through 3 studies, we investigated whether angularity and roundness present in faces contributes to the perception of anger and joyful expressions, respectively. First, in Study 1 we found that angry expressions naturally contain more inward-pointing lines, whereas joyful expressions contain more outwardpointing lines. Then, using image-processing techniques in Studies 2 and 3, we filtered images to contain only inward-pointing or outward-pointing lines as a way to approximate angularity and roundness. We found that filtering images to be more angular increased how threatening and angry a neutral face was rated, increased how intense angry expressions were rated, and enhanced the recognition of anger. Conversely, filtering images to be rounder increased how warm and joyful a neutral face was rated, increased the intensity of joyful expressions, and enhanced recognition of joy. Together these findings show that angularity and roundness play a direct role in the recognition of angry and joyful expressions. Given evidence that angularity and roundness may play a biological role in indicating threat and safety in the environment, this suggests that angularity and roundness represent primitive facial cues used to signal threatanger and warmthjoy pairings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-218
Number of pages10
JournalEmotion
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Fingerprint

Anger
Reading
Cues
Safety
Recognition (Psychology)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Franklin, Robert G. ; Adams, Reginald B. ; Steiner, Troy G. ; Zebrowitz, Leslie A. / Reading the Lines in the Face : The Contribution of Angularity and Roundness to Perceptions of Facial Anger and Joy. In: Emotion. 2019 ; Vol. 19, No. 2. pp. 209-218.
@article{c59196a6543d4f6b8637fafa9f16496f,
title = "Reading the Lines in the Face: The Contribution of Angularity and Roundness to Perceptions of Facial Anger and Joy",
abstract = "Through 3 studies, we investigated whether angularity and roundness present in faces contributes to the perception of anger and joyful expressions, respectively. First, in Study 1 we found that angry expressions naturally contain more inward-pointing lines, whereas joyful expressions contain more outwardpointing lines. Then, using image-processing techniques in Studies 2 and 3, we filtered images to contain only inward-pointing or outward-pointing lines as a way to approximate angularity and roundness. We found that filtering images to be more angular increased how threatening and angry a neutral face was rated, increased how intense angry expressions were rated, and enhanced the recognition of anger. Conversely, filtering images to be rounder increased how warm and joyful a neutral face was rated, increased the intensity of joyful expressions, and enhanced recognition of joy. Together these findings show that angularity and roundness play a direct role in the recognition of angry and joyful expressions. Given evidence that angularity and roundness may play a biological role in indicating threat and safety in the environment, this suggests that angularity and roundness represent primitive facial cues used to signal threatanger and warmthjoy pairings.",
author = "Franklin, {Robert G.} and Adams, {Reginald B.} and Steiner, {Troy G.} and Zebrowitz, {Leslie A.}",
year = "2019",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1037/emo0000423",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "19",
pages = "209--218",
journal = "Emotion",
issn = "1528-3542",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "2",

}

Reading the Lines in the Face : The Contribution of Angularity and Roundness to Perceptions of Facial Anger and Joy. / Franklin, Robert G.; Adams, Reginald B.; Steiner, Troy G.; Zebrowitz, Leslie A.

In: Emotion, Vol. 19, No. 2, 03.2019, p. 209-218.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reading the Lines in the Face

T2 - The Contribution of Angularity and Roundness to Perceptions of Facial Anger and Joy

AU - Franklin, Robert G.

AU - Adams, Reginald B.

AU - Steiner, Troy G.

AU - Zebrowitz, Leslie A.

PY - 2019/3

Y1 - 2019/3

N2 - Through 3 studies, we investigated whether angularity and roundness present in faces contributes to the perception of anger and joyful expressions, respectively. First, in Study 1 we found that angry expressions naturally contain more inward-pointing lines, whereas joyful expressions contain more outwardpointing lines. Then, using image-processing techniques in Studies 2 and 3, we filtered images to contain only inward-pointing or outward-pointing lines as a way to approximate angularity and roundness. We found that filtering images to be more angular increased how threatening and angry a neutral face was rated, increased how intense angry expressions were rated, and enhanced the recognition of anger. Conversely, filtering images to be rounder increased how warm and joyful a neutral face was rated, increased the intensity of joyful expressions, and enhanced recognition of joy. Together these findings show that angularity and roundness play a direct role in the recognition of angry and joyful expressions. Given evidence that angularity and roundness may play a biological role in indicating threat and safety in the environment, this suggests that angularity and roundness represent primitive facial cues used to signal threatanger and warmthjoy pairings.

AB - Through 3 studies, we investigated whether angularity and roundness present in faces contributes to the perception of anger and joyful expressions, respectively. First, in Study 1 we found that angry expressions naturally contain more inward-pointing lines, whereas joyful expressions contain more outwardpointing lines. Then, using image-processing techniques in Studies 2 and 3, we filtered images to contain only inward-pointing or outward-pointing lines as a way to approximate angularity and roundness. We found that filtering images to be more angular increased how threatening and angry a neutral face was rated, increased how intense angry expressions were rated, and enhanced the recognition of anger. Conversely, filtering images to be rounder increased how warm and joyful a neutral face was rated, increased the intensity of joyful expressions, and enhanced recognition of joy. Together these findings show that angularity and roundness play a direct role in the recognition of angry and joyful expressions. Given evidence that angularity and roundness may play a biological role in indicating threat and safety in the environment, this suggests that angularity and roundness represent primitive facial cues used to signal threatanger and warmthjoy pairings.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85046898109&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85046898109&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/emo0000423

DO - 10.1037/emo0000423

M3 - Article

C2 - 29756792

AN - SCOPUS:85046898109

VL - 19

SP - 209

EP - 218

JO - Emotion

JF - Emotion

SN - 1528-3542

IS - 2

ER -