Affective priming on micro-expression recognition

Adam Saad, The College of Wooster


The present study examined the effects of emotional priming on an individual's ability to read emotions. Micro-expressions are involuntary facial expressions that last approximately 1/25 of a second. This study focused on positive and negative emotional priming and how it affects an individual's cognitive ability to identify micro-expressions. It was hypothesized that participants would more accurately identify the emotions associated with their emotional prime (positive prime will more accurately identify a positive emotion such as happiness; negative prime will more accurately identify emotions such as anger and fear). Sixty-four participants were tested with either a positive or negative semantic prime followed by a series of micro-expressions. It was found that there was no significant effect between the emotional prime on accuracy or reaction time of micro-expression recognition. However, the data shows a clear perceptual difference between the different micro-expressions which supports previous data in distinguishing micro-expressions from one another.