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Angle of regard: The effect of vertical viewing angle on the perception of facial expressions


Two studies were conducted using video records of real faces and three-dimensional schematic faces to investigate the perceptual distortions introduced by viewing faces at a vertical angle and their influence on the attribution of emotional expressions and attitudes. The results indicate that faces seen from below were perceived as morepositive and lessnegative, while faces seen from above appeared morenegative and lesspositive. This effect seems to be moderated by interindividual differences in facial morphology, and perhaps by differences in dynamic aspects of expressions. The second study investigated the respective contribution of the upper half and the lower half of the face to the perceptual distortion found. In general, judges based their attributions of emotional state more on cues from the upper half of the face.

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Correspondence to Arvid Kappas.

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Kappas, A., Hess, U., Barr, C.L. et al. Angle of regard: The effect of vertical viewing angle on the perception of facial expressions. J Nonverbal Behav 18, 263–280 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02172289

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  • Social Psychology
  • Facial Expression
  • Emotional State
  • Video Record
  • Lower Half