Authors' Affiliations

Samantha Bosse and Dr. Alyson Chroust, Department of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, TN.

Location

Ballroom

Start Date

4-12-2019 9:00 AM

End Date

4-12-2019 2:30 PM

Poster Number

59

Faculty Sponsor’s Department

Psychology

Name of Project's Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Alyson Chroust

Type

Poster: Competitive

Classification of First Author

Undergraduate Student

Project's Category

Psychology

Abstract Text

Previous research in infant cognitive development has helped psychologists better understand visual looking patterns in infants exposed to various facial expressions and emotions. There has been significantly less research, however, on gaze sequences in relation to emotional body expressions. The aim of this study was to address this gap in the literature by using eye-tracking software to analyze infants’ gaze patterns of different areas of interest (AOIs) on emotional body expressions. Forty 6.5-month-old infants (Mean age in days = 193.9; SD = 8.00; 18 males) were shown four emotional body expressions (happy, sad, angry, fearful) with either a blurred face condition or a present face condition. Each expression was viewed twice by each infant for a total of 8-8 second trials. To examine whether infants’ first fixation location differed across emotion and area of interest (AOI), a mixed analysis of variance was conducted on the number of first fixations to each AOI across emotion with emotion (anger, fear, happy, sad) and AOI (upper body, face/head, legs, arms/hands) as a within-subjects factor and condition (face present, blurred) as a between-participant factor. There was a significant main effect of AOI, F(3, 342) = 36.40, p < .001, h2 = .49. However, this main effect is “explained” by a significant interaction between AOI and emotion, F(9, 342) = 2.07, p = .031, h2 = .05. There was no evidence of difference in performance across conditions, therefore subsequent analyses were collapsed across this variable. Follow-up analyses probing the interaction between AOI and emotion indicate that the number of first looks to the legs and arms/hands AOIs varies across emotion. For example, infants’ first fixation was more often directed towards the arms/hands AOI when the emotion of the body expression was sad. Additionally, infants’ first fixation location was more often directed toward the legs AOI when the body expression was happy. In contrast, there was insufficient evidence to suggest differences across emotion nor AOI when analyzing the time it took infants to make their first fixation or with the duration of the first fixation. In summary, the location of infants’ first fixation on static images of emotional body expressions varied as a function of emotion. Moreover, infants’ performance was not affected by the presence/absence of facial emotional information. These findings suggest that socially relevant features within bodies are differentially attended to by at least 6.5 months of age. This kind of systematic scanning may lay the groundwork for mature knowledge of emotions and appropriate behavioral responses to other people’s emotion later in life.

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Apr 12th, 9:00 AM Apr 12th, 2:30 PM

How Emotional Body Expressions Direct an Infant's First Look

Ballroom

Previous research in infant cognitive development has helped psychologists better understand visual looking patterns in infants exposed to various facial expressions and emotions. There has been significantly less research, however, on gaze sequences in relation to emotional body expressions. The aim of this study was to address this gap in the literature by using eye-tracking software to analyze infants’ gaze patterns of different areas of interest (AOIs) on emotional body expressions. Forty 6.5-month-old infants (Mean age in days = 193.9; SD = 8.00; 18 males) were shown four emotional body expressions (happy, sad, angry, fearful) with either a blurred face condition or a present face condition. Each expression was viewed twice by each infant for a total of 8-8 second trials. To examine whether infants’ first fixation location differed across emotion and area of interest (AOI), a mixed analysis of variance was conducted on the number of first fixations to each AOI across emotion with emotion (anger, fear, happy, sad) and AOI (upper body, face/head, legs, arms/hands) as a within-subjects factor and condition (face present, blurred) as a between-participant factor. There was a significant main effect of AOI, F(3, 342) = 36.40, p < .001, h2 = .49. However, this main effect is “explained” by a significant interaction between AOI and emotion, F(9, 342) = 2.07, p = .031, h2 = .05. There was no evidence of difference in performance across conditions, therefore subsequent analyses were collapsed across this variable. Follow-up analyses probing the interaction between AOI and emotion indicate that the number of first looks to the legs and arms/hands AOIs varies across emotion. For example, infants’ first fixation was more often directed towards the arms/hands AOI when the emotion of the body expression was sad. Additionally, infants’ first fixation location was more often directed toward the legs AOI when the body expression was happy. In contrast, there was insufficient evidence to suggest differences across emotion nor AOI when analyzing the time it took infants to make their first fixation or with the duration of the first fixation. In summary, the location of infants’ first fixation on static images of emotional body expressions varied as a function of emotion. Moreover, infants’ performance was not affected by the presence/absence of facial emotional information. These findings suggest that socially relevant features within bodies are differentially attended to by at least 6.5 months of age. This kind of systematic scanning may lay the groundwork for mature knowledge of emotions and appropriate behavioral responses to other people’s emotion later in life.