Body language more expressive than faces

Oct 24, 2005

Body language can shape first impressions of a person's emotional state, even when attention is focused on facial expression, Netherlands scientists said.

Tilburg University researcher Beatrice de Gelder and colleagues compiled photographs of men and women showing fear or anger in their facial expressions and body postures. Some photographs were altered so, for instance, a fearful facial expression was paired with an angry body posture, which resulted in two "congruent" and two "incongruent" combinations.

Each photograph was shown to 12 participants while measuring their electrical brain activity. Participants were asked to focus on the face in the photographs and decide whether the person was angry or fearful. The photographs were shown briefly, so only a "first impression" glance was possible.

Researchers found when the face and body in the photograph showed conflicting emotions, the participants' judgment of facial expression was hampered and became biased toward the emotion expressed by the body.

The results suggest the brain possesses a neural mechanism sensitive to the agreement between facial expression and body language and can evaluate that information very quickly.

The research is detailed in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Horses communicate with their eyes and mobile ears

Aug 04, 2014

Horses are sensitive to the facial expressions and attention of other horses, including the direction of the eyes and ears. The findings, reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on August 4, are ...

Report: UK spies intercept webcam pics, nudity

Feb 27, 2014

(AP)—Britain's signals intelligence division is stealing screenshots from hundreds of thousands of innocent Yahoo users' webcam videos, according to the Guardian newspaper, which also reported that the years-long operation ...

French King Henry IV's head stars in forensic dispute

Nov 05, 2013

Doubt - and a reportedly royal severed head - haunts a murky corner of forensic science these days, as researchers squabble over an unearthed packet of mummified remains thought to have belonged to King Henry IV of France.

Recommended for you

Dinosaur footprints set for public display in Utah

Aug 22, 2014

A dry wash full of 112-million-year-old dinosaur tracks that include an ankylosaurus, dromaeosaurus and a menacing ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus rex, is set to open to the public this fall in Utah.

Fossil arthropod went on the hunt for its prey

Aug 22, 2014

A new species of carnivorous crustacean has been identified, which roamed the seas 435 million years ago, grasping its prey with spiny limbs before devouring it. The fossil is described and details of its lifestyle are published ...

User comments : 0