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The Noh mask effect: vertical viewpoint dependence of facial expression perception

Lyons, MJ; Campbell, R; Plante, A; Coleman, M; Kamachi, M; Akamatsu, S; (2000) The Noh mask effect: vertical viewpoint dependence of facial expression perception. P R SOC B , 267 (1459) 2239 - 2245.

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Abstract

Full-face masks, worn by skilled actors in the Noh tradition, can induce a variety of perceived expressions with changes in I-lead orientation. Out-of-plane rotation of the head changes the two-dimensional image characteristics of the face which viewers may misinterpret as non-rigid changes due to muscle action. Three experiments with Japanese and British viewers explored this effect. Experiment 1 confirmed a systematic relationship, between vertical angle of view of a Noh mask and judged affect. A forward tilted mask was more often judged hal,py, and one backward tilted more often judged sad. This effect was moderated by culture. Japanese viewers ascribed happiness to the mask at greater degrees of backward tilt with a reversal towards sadness at extreme forward angles. Cropping the facial image of chin and upper head contour reduced the forward-tilt reversal. Finally the relationship between head tilt and affect was replicated with a laser-scanned human face image, but with no cultural effect. Vertical orientation of the head changes the apparent disposition of facial features and viewers respond systematically to these changes. Culture moderates this effect, and we discuss how perceptual strategies for ascribing expression to familiar and unfamiliar images may account for the differences.

Type: Article
Title: The Noh mask effect: vertical viewpoint dependence of facial expression perception
Keywords: face perception, facial expression perception, Noh masks, RECOGNITION, FACE
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/144243
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