The effect of variations of emotional expressions on mnemonic discrimination and traditional recognition memory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Face recognition occurs when a face is recognised despite changes between learning and test exposures. Yet there has been relatively little research on how variations in emotional expressions influence people’s ability to recognise these changes. We evaluated the ability to discriminate old and similar expressions of emotions (i.e. mnemonic discrimination) of the same face, as well as the discrimination ability between old and dissimilar (new) expressions of the same face, reflecting traditional discrimination. An emotional mnemonic discrimination task with morphed faces that were similar but not identical to the original face was used. Results showed greater mnemonic discrimination for learned neutral expressions that at test became slightly more fearful rather than happy. For traditional discrimination, there was greater accuracy for learned happy faces becoming fearful, rather than those changing from fearful-tohappy.
These findings indicate that emotional expressions may have asymmetrical
influences on mnemonic and traditional discrimination of the same face.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • memory, face discrimination, emotional discrimination
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-557
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number43226
Early online date2018 Jul 3
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 18
Publication categoryResearch

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