Skip to main content

Explaining Sad People's Memory Advantage for Faces.

Hills, P.J., Marquardt, Z., Young, I and Goodenough, I, 2017. Explaining Sad People's Memory Advantage for Faces. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 207.

Full text available as:

fpsyg-08-00207.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00207


Sad people recognize faces more accurately than happy people (Hills et al., 2011). We devised four hypotheses for this finding that are tested between in the current study. The four hypotheses are: (1) sad people engage in more expert processing associated with face processing; (2) sad people are motivated to be more accurate than happy people in an attempt to repair their mood; (3) sad people have a defocused attentional strategy that allows more information about a face to be encoded; and (4) sad people scan more of the face than happy people leading to more facial features to be encoded. In Experiment 1, we found that dysphoria (sad mood often associated with depression) was not correlated with the face-inversion effect (a measure of expert processing) nor with response times but was correlated with defocused attention and recognition accuracy. Experiment 2 established that dysphoric participants detected changes made to more facial features than happy participants. In Experiment 3, using eye-tracking we found that sad-induced participants sampled more of the face whilst avoiding the eyes. Experiment 4 showed that sad-induced people demonstrated a smaller own-ethnicity bias. These results indicate that sad people show different attentional allocation to faces than happy and neutral people.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:anxiety; depression; eye tracking; face recognition; face-inversion effect; mood induction; own-race bias; ownethnicity bias
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:27934
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:13 Mar 2017 12:09
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:03


Downloads per month over past year

More statistics for this item...
Repository Staff Only -