Recognition of Sad and Happy Facial Expressions – Lateralization and Association with Depressive Symptoms

Maida Koso-Drljević, Meri Miličević


The aim of the study was to test two assumptions about the lateralization of the processing of emotionalfacial expressions: the assumption of right hemisphere dominance and the valence assumption and toegsamine the influence of gender of the presented stimulus (chimera) and depression as an emotionalstate of participants. The sample consisted of 83 female students, with an average age of 20 years.Participants solved the Task of Recognizing Emotional Facial Expressions on a computer and thencompleted the DASS-21, Depression subscale. The results of the study partially confirmed theassumption of valence for the dependent variable - the accuracy of the response. Participants wererecognizing more accurately the emotion of sadness than happiness when it is presented on the left sideof the face, which is consistent with the valence hypothesis, according to which the right hemisphere isresponsible for recognizing negative emotions. However, when it comes to the right side of the face,participants were equally accurately recognizing the emotion of sadness and happiness, which is notconsistent with the valence hypothesis. The main effect of the gender of the chimera was statisticallysignificant for the accuracy of the response, the recognition accuracy was higher for the male chimerascompared to the female. A statistically significant negative correlation was obtained between the variablesides of the face (left and right) with the achieved result on the depression subscale for the dependentvariable - reaction time. The higher the score on the depressive subscale, the slower (longer) is reactiontime to the presented chimera, both on the left and on the right.


lateralization; chimera test; chimera gender; depression

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