Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 117–139 | Cite as

Attributing Emotion to Static Body Postures: Recognition Accuracy, Confusions, and Viewpoint Dependence

  • Mark Coulson


A total of 176 computer-generated mannequin figures were produced from descriptions of postural expressions of emotion in order to investigate the attribution of emotion to static body postures. Each posture was rendered from 3 viewing angles and presented to participants in a forced-decision task. Concordance rates for attributions of 6 emotions (anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise) ranged from zero for many disgust postures to over 90 percent for some anger and sadness postures. Anatomical variables and viewing angle were shown to predict participants' responses. Analysis of the confusion matrix suggested a circumplex solution with happiness and surprise sharing a similar position, and few confusions between the other four emotions. The means by which emotions may be attributed to static body postures are discussed, as are avenues for further research.

emotion expression posture 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Coulson
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health and Social SciencesMiddlesex UniversityQueenswayUnited Kingdom

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