, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 45-73

Nonverbal Emotion Priming: Evidence from the ‘Facial Affect Decision Task’

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Affective associations between a speaker’s voice (emotional prosody) and a facial expression were investigated using a new on-line procedure, the Facial Affect Decision Task (FADT). Faces depicting one of four ‘basic’ emotions were paired with utterances conveying an emotionally-related or unrelated prosody, followed by a yes/no judgement of the face as a ‘true’ exemplar of emotion. Results established that prosodic characteristics facilitate the accuracy and speed of decisions about an emotionally congruent target face, supplying empirical support for the idea that information about discrete emotions is shared across major nonverbal channels. The FADT represents a promising tool for future on-line studies of nonverbal processing in both healthy and disordered individuals.

The author gratefully acknowledges the service of Elmira Chan, Sarah Addleman, and Marta Fundamenski for running the experiment, and for helpful comments received from M. Harris, K. Scherer and anonymous reviewers of an earlier draft of the paper. This research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.