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    Atypical trait inferences from facial cues in alexithymia

    Brewer, Rebecca and Cook, Richard and Bird, Geoffrey (2015) Atypical trait inferences from facial cues in alexithymia. Emotion 15 (5), pp. 637-643. ISSN 1528-3542.

    Brewer et al (2015) traits alex.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

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    It is often difficult to distinguish strangers’ permanent facial shapes from their transient facial expressions, for example, whether they are scowling or have narrow-set eyes. Overinterpretation of ambiguous cues may contribute to the rapid character judgments we make about others. Someone with narrow eyes might be judged untrustworthy, because of strong associations between facial anger and threat. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the trait judgments made by individuals with severe alexithymia, associated with impaired recognition of facial emotion. Consistent with the hypothesis, alexithymic participants demonstrated reduced interrater consistency when judging the character traits of unfamiliar faces, and the presence of subtle emotions. Nevertheless, where alexithymics perceived, or misperceived, emotion cues, the character traits inferred thereafter were broadly typical. The finding that individuals with developmental deficits of emotion recognition exhibit atypical attribution of character traits, confirms the hypothesis that emotion-recognition mechanisms play a causal role in character judgments.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: ©American Psychological Association 201x. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at the DOI cited above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Richard Cook
    Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2018 14:34
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:39


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