Factors influencing variation in face processing

Alharbi, Sarah (2022) Factors influencing variation in face processing. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Perceptions of faces, such as judgments about others’ emotional states or attractiveness from facial characteristics, influence social interaction. However, relatively few studies have investigated factors that predict variation among individuals or groups of individuals in how people perceive facial characteristics and results from studies on this topic that have been reported have often been subsequently shown to not be robust. For these reasons, the studies reported in this thesis investigated potential sources of variation in face perception, focusing on (1) the relationship between affective factors and perceptions of facial expression of emotion in a UK sample and (2) the effects of sexually dimorphic face-shape characteristics on social judgments of faces in samples of Arab women. Chapter 2 (the first empirical chapter) reports results from a Registered Report investigating relationships between different affective factors and emotion perception. Results replicated previous studies suggesting that participants scoring higher on generalised anxiety performed poorer on emotion perception tasks, but also found evidence that other affective factors, particularly those related to empathy, also contributed to variation in emotion perception. While Chapter 2 had investigated responses to facial characteristics that can change very rapidly (emotional expressions), Chapters 3 and 4 investigated Arab women’s responses to a facial characteristic that is relatively stable over time (sexually dimorphic face-shape characteristics). Results from this series of studies suggested that Arab women perceived feminised versions of men’s faces to be more attractive, younger-looking, and less dominant than masculinised versions, but found no effects of sexually dimorphic face-shape characteristics on perceptions of men’s trustworthiness or health. These results for Arab women’s face perceptions show some similarities (e.g., femininized faces look more attractive, younger, and less dominant than masculinised faces) to results previously reported for UK women’s face perceptions, but also show some differences (e.g., UK women typically find feminized faces look more trustworthy, a pattern not seen in this sample of Arab women). Together, the results reported in this thesis suggest that affective factors and cultural differences may contribute to variation in face perceptions and highlight the importance of considering variation when studying face perception.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Jones, Professor Benedict and Debruine, Professor Lisa
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-83433
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2023 08:59
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 08:46
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.83433
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/83433
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