Hui Xu

Doctor of Philosophy, (Psychology)
Study Completed: 2016
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Facial Expression and Context Effects

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The ability to recognise facial expressions is essential in our daily life. Current research on facial expressions was often carried out using isolated faces, which leads us to ignore accompanied contextual information such as vocal sound and body language. Using bodily and vocal expressions as contextual stimuli Ms Xu investigated whether the magnitude of context effects relies on the level of perceptual similarity between facial expressions, varies with the level of intensity of facial expressions, and whether attentional resources influence the context effects. She recruited 177 participants to judge the target facial expressions. She found that the magnitude of context effects depends on the level of perceptual similarity and the level of intensity, though the pattern of context effects was not the same for all the facial expressions tested in her research. Additionally, visual context effects require attentional resources, while auditory context effects do not depend on attentional resources.

Associate Professor Heather Kempton
Associate Professor Stephen Hill