The influence of attention toward facial expressions on size perception.

Research paper by Jeong-Won JW Choi, Kiho K Kim, Jang-Han JH Lee

Indexed on: 01 Jan '15Published on: 01 Jan '15Published in: Psychological research


According to the New Look theory, size perception is affected by emotional factors. Although previous studies have attempted to explain the effects of both emotion and motivation on size perception, they have failed to identify the underlying mechanisms. This study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of size perception by applying attention toward facial expressions using the Ebbinghaus illusion as a measurement tool. The participants, female university students, were asked to judge the size of a target stimulus relative to the size of facial expressions (i.e., happy, angry, and neutral) surrounding the target. The results revealed that the participants perceived angry and neutral faces to be larger than happy faces. This finding indicates that individuals pay closer attention to neutral and angry faces than happy ones. These results suggest that the mechanisms underlying size perception involve cognitive processes that focus attention toward relevant stimuli and block out irrelevant stimuli.