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Intense or malicious? The decoding of eyebrow-lowering frowning in laughter animations depends on the presentation mode


Hofmann, Jennifer (2014). Intense or malicious? The decoding of eyebrow-lowering frowning in laughter animations depends on the presentation mode. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1306):online.

Abstract

Joyful laughter is the only laughter type that has received sufficient validation in terms of morphology (i.e., face, voice). Still, it is unclear whether joyful laughter involves one prototypical facial-morphological configuration (Duchenne Display and mouth opening) to be decoded as such, or whether qualitatively distinct facial markers occur at different stages of laughter intensity. It was proposed that intense laughter goes along with eyebrow-lowering frowning, but in decoding studies of pictures, these “frowns” were associated with perceived maliciousness rather than higher intensity. Thus, two studies were conducted to investigate the influence of the presentation mode (static, dynamic) and eyebrow-lowering frowning on the perception of laughter animations of different intensity. In Study 1, participants (N = 110) were randomly assigned to two presentation modes (static pictures vs. dynamic videos) to watch animations of Duchenne laughter and laughter with added eyebrow-lowering frowning. Ratings on the intensity, valence, and contagiousness of the laughter were completed. In Study 2, participants (N = 55) saw both animation types in both presentation modes sequentially. Results confirmed that the static presentation lead to eyebrow-lowering frowning in intense laughter being perceived as more malicious, less intense, less benevolent, and less contagious compared to the dynamic presentation. This was replicated for maliciousness in Study 2, although participants could potentially infer the “frown” as a natural element of the laugh, as they had seen the video and the picture.Thus, a dynamic presentation is necessary for detecting graduating intensity markers in the joyfully laughing face. While this study focused on the decoding, future studies should investigate the encoding of frowning in laughter. This is important, as tools assessing facially expressed joy might need to account for laughter intensity markers that differ from the Duchenne Display.

Abstract

Joyful laughter is the only laughter type that has received sufficient validation in terms of morphology (i.e., face, voice). Still, it is unclear whether joyful laughter involves one prototypical facial-morphological configuration (Duchenne Display and mouth opening) to be decoded as such, or whether qualitatively distinct facial markers occur at different stages of laughter intensity. It was proposed that intense laughter goes along with eyebrow-lowering frowning, but in decoding studies of pictures, these “frowns” were associated with perceived maliciousness rather than higher intensity. Thus, two studies were conducted to investigate the influence of the presentation mode (static, dynamic) and eyebrow-lowering frowning on the perception of laughter animations of different intensity. In Study 1, participants (N = 110) were randomly assigned to two presentation modes (static pictures vs. dynamic videos) to watch animations of Duchenne laughter and laughter with added eyebrow-lowering frowning. Ratings on the intensity, valence, and contagiousness of the laughter were completed. In Study 2, participants (N = 55) saw both animation types in both presentation modes sequentially. Results confirmed that the static presentation lead to eyebrow-lowering frowning in intense laughter being perceived as more malicious, less intense, less benevolent, and less contagious compared to the dynamic presentation. This was replicated for maliciousness in Study 2, although participants could potentially infer the “frown” as a natural element of the laugh, as they had seen the video and the picture.Thus, a dynamic presentation is necessary for detecting graduating intensity markers in the joyfully laughing face. While this study focused on the decoding, future studies should investigate the encoding of frowning in laughter. This is important, as tools assessing facially expressed joy might need to account for laughter intensity markers that differ from the Duchenne Display.

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2 citations in Web of Science®
1 citation in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords:FACS, Darwin, Duchenne Display, laughter, intensity, avatar DoktoratPsych Erstautor
Language:English
Date:18 November 2014
Deposited On:25 Feb 2015 12:06
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:04
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1664-1078
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01306

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