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Title: Happy = Human: A Feeling of Belonging Modulates the “Expression-to-Mind” Effect
Past research has demonstrated a link between facial expressions and mind perception, yet why expressions, especially happy expressions, influence mind attribution remains unclear. Conducting four studies, we addressed this issue. In Study 1, we investigated whether the valence or behavioral intention (i.e., approach or avoidance) implied by different emotions affected the minds ascribed to expressers. Happy (positive valence and approach intention) targets were ascribed more sophisticated minds than were targets displaying neutral, angry (negative-approach), or fearful (negative-avoidance) expressions, suggesting emotional valence was relevant to mind attribution but apparent behavioral intentions were not. We replicated this effect using both Black and White targets (Study 2) and another face database (Study 3). In Study 4, we conducted path analyses to examine attractiveness and expectations of social acceptance as potential mediators of the effect. Our findings suggest that signals of social acceptance are crucial to the effect emotional expressions have on mind perception.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Social Cognition
Page Range / eLocation ID:
213 to 227
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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