chapter  12
22 Pages

Hemispheric Asymmetries in the Perception of Facial Expressions by Normals

Interpersonally, the human face serves two primary purposes: communication and identification. For example, in most social situations, it is important to know whether the person standing before you is happy, angry, or sad, and additionally (perhaps principally), whether that person is your spouse, department chairman, or physician. As indicated elsewhere in this book, much of the research on face recognition (especially that conducted before the late 1970s) ignored or confused these purposes and treated the face somewhat monolithically. In other words, when regarding the face (experimentally), emotional expression has at times been considered as simply another facial feature, like a nose or an eye. This philosophical or methodological shortcoming is perhaps analogous to viewing the Mona Lisa without attending to her smile.