How well can we read other people’s faces? And how good are we at faking our own emotional responses? Turns out not to great. In the absence of other contextual cues people are not very good at reading peoples facial expressions. Add to that the fact that cultural differences can have a huge impact on what emotions are expressed and how. As humans we are inherently biased towards favourably reading the expressions of people within our own groups. Even things like facial hair can affect how emotions are perceived.
Belinda Craig is ‘not that kind of psychologist’ from the University of New England. She studies how the social groups we belong to affect how we perceive emotions. In this chat with In Situ Science we chat to Belinda about fluctuating fashion trends in the world of beards, spider phobias and why we have them, and why you shouldn’t fall asleep in an FMRI machine.
Music: ‘Strange Stuff’ by Sonic Wallpaper – www.sonicwallpaper.bandcamp.com
Feature image: Think, Love, Do. CC-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons User Nevit Dilmen