Emotion-related individual difference in emotion perception across media

Date
2012
Authors
Baum, Briann
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Abstract

A great deal of variability is found when looking at individual differences in the experience and perception of emotion, and there is reason to believe that the differences may be more pronounced in perceiving emotion in some media than in others. To examine this possibility, 250 participants completed computer-based ratings of the emotional content of faces, short stories, and instrumental music. Individual differences in emotion related individuals measured by clarity, the TAS-20, the AQ, and the IRI were also assessed. It was found that people were consistently best at identifying emotion in faces, then stories, and lastly music, and that accuracy for one medium was only loosely correlated with accuracy for other media. The only individual difference measured found to relate to accuracy of perception overall was empathy, as measured by the IRI. More focused analyses revealed participants' ratings were more accurate for strong than weak stimuli. This difference did not vary with clarity / alexithymia or empathy. However, the difference in accuracy for strong and weak stories varied with individual differences in autistic-like behaviors. This study provides insight into the processes that influence emotion perception, and why people differ in accuracy of emotion perception.

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Department
Psychology