The Human Face pp 149-167 | Cite as

Causes and Reasons in Failures to Perceive Fearful Faces

  • Monique de Bonis


Human and non human primate brains share the ability to decipher emotional signals in a human face (Sugase, Yamane & Veno, 1999). Other species, such as birds, whose visual apparatus is highly developed, can learn some of the facial signals and discriminate positive from negative human expressions (Jitsumori & Yoshihara, 1997). Furthermore, humans are capable of designing expert-systems that are more accurate than a human brain in categorising at least the restricted repertory of basic emotions from the standard Ekman & Freisen (1976) Facial Action Coding System (Lien, Kanade, & Cohn, 2000; Stewart-Bartlett, Hager, Ekman, & Sejnowski, 1999). Automatic devices have been developed that can substitute for the human eye in the assessment of facial expressions of emotion in clinical settings (Benson, 1999; Katsikitis, this volume; Katsikitis & Pilowsky, 1988, 1991, 1996).


Facial Expression Emotion Recognition Basic Emotion Categorical Perception Facial Affect 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., Damasio, H. & Damasio, A. (1994) Impaired recognition of emotion in facial expressions following bilateral damage to the human amygdala. Nature, 372, 669–672.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., Damasio, H. & Damasio, A. (1995) Fear and the human amygdala. The Journal ofNeuroscience, 15, 5879–5891.Google Scholar
  3. Adolphs, R. & Tranel, D. (1999) Intact recognition of emotional prosody following amygdala damage. Neuropsychologia, 37, 1285–1292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bassili, J.N. (1979) Emotion recognition: the role of facial movement and the relative importance of th upper and lower areas of the face. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2049–2058.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benson, P. (1999) A means of measuring facial expressions and a method for predicting emotion categories in clinical disorders of affect. Journal of Affective Disorders, 55, 179–185.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Blair, R.J., Morris, J.S., Frith, C.D., Perrett, D.J., Dolan, R.J. (1999) Dissociable neural responses to facial expressions of sadness and anger. Brain, 122, 883–893.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Bonis, M., De Boeck, P., Pérez-Diaz, F. & Nahas, M. (1999) A two-process theory of facial perception of emotions. C. R. Académie des Sciences (Life Sciences), 322, 1–7.Google Scholar
  8. de Bonis, M. & Nahas, M. (in press) The Duchenne’s illusion. Proceedings of the Xlth Conference of the International Society for Research on Emotions, 16–20 August (Summary).Google Scholar
  9. de Bonis, M., De Boeck, P., Pérez-Diaz, F. & Nahas, M. (in preparation). A part-based model for facial perception of emotion: Linear combination and dominanceGoogle Scholar
  10. Broks, P., Young, A.W., Maratos, E.J., Coffey, P.J., Calder, A.J., Isaac, C.L., Mayes, A.R., Hodges, J.R. et al. (1998) Face processing impairments after encephalitis: Amygdala damage and recognition of fear. Neuropsychologia, 36, 59–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bruyer, R. & Granato, P. (1999) Categorical effects in the perception of facial expressions: M.A.R.I.E. A simple discriminating clinical tool. European Review of Applied Psychology, 49, 2–20.Google Scholar
  12. Calder, A.J., Young, A.W., Perrett, D.L., Etcoff, N.L. & Rowland, D. (1996) Categorical perception of morphed facial expressions. Visual Cognition, 3, 81–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Calder, A.J., Young, A.W., Rowland, D., Perrett, D.I., Hodges, J.R. and Etcoff, N. (1996) Facial emotion recognition after bilateral amygdale damage: Differentially severe impairment of fear. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 13, 699–745.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Calder, A.J., Young, A.W., Keane, J. and Dean, M. (2000) Configurational information in facial expression perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology, Human Perception and Performance, 26, 527–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Damasio, A. (1994) Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason and the human brain. New York, Grosset/Putnam.Google Scholar
  16. Damasio, A.R. (1998) Emotion in the perspective of an integrated nervous system. Brain Research Review, 26, 83–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Darwin, Ch. (1872) The expression of emotions in man and animals. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. (1965)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dunlap, K. (1927) The role of eye-muscle and mouth-muscles in the expression of the emotions. Genetic Pychology Monographs, 2, 199–233.Google Scholar
  19. Dolan R.J. & Morris, J.S. (2000) The functional anatomy of innate and acquired fear. Perspective in Neuroimaging. in: R.D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp.225–241). New York, Series in Affective Neuroscience.Google Scholar
  20. Duchenne de Boulogne, G.B. (1862) Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine (Analyse électro-physiologique de I’expression des passions) , Jules Renouard.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ekman, P. and Friesen, W.V. (1978) The Facial Action Coding System (FACS): A technique for the measurement of facial action. Palo Alto, CA, Consulting psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ekman, P. & Rosenberg, E. (1997) What the face reveals. Basic and applied studies of spontaneous expressions using the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) . New York, Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Ellison, J.W. & Massaro, D.W. (1997) Featural evaluation, integration, and judgment of facial affect. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 23, 213–226.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Etcoff, N.L. & Magee, J.J. (1992) Categorical perception of facial expressions. Cognition, 44, 227–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Farah, J., Wilson, K.D., Drain, M. and Tanaka, J.N. (1998) What is “special” about face perception? Psychological Review, 105, 482–498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. de Gelder, B., Teunisse, J.P., Benson, P.J. (1997) Categorical perception of facial expressions: Categories and their internal structure. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 1–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hamann, S.B. & Adolphs, R. (1999) Normal recognition of emotional similarity between facial expressions following bilateral amygdala damage. Neuropsychologia, 37, 1135–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hariri A.R., Bookheimer, S.Y. & Mazziotta, J.C. (2000) Modulating emotional response effects of a neocortical network on the limbic system. Neuroreport, 11, 43–48.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hasselmo, M.E., Rolls, E.T. & Baylis, G.C. (1989) The role of expression and identity in the face selective responses of neurons in the temporal visual cortex of the monkey. Behavioural and Brain Research, 32, 208–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jitsumori, M. & Yoshihara, M. (1997) Categorical discrimination of human facial expressions by pigeons: A test of the linear feature model. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 50B, 253–268.Google Scholar
  31. Kaiser, S. (2002). Expressions as indicators of “functional” and “dysfunctional” emotional processes. In M. Katsikitis (Ed.), The human face: Measurement and meaning (pp. xxx–xxx). Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media New York.Google Scholar
  32. Kappas, A. (2002). What facial activity can and cannot tell us about emotion. In M. Katsikitis (Ed.), The human face: Measurement and meaning (pp. 215–234). Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media New York.Google Scholar
  33. Katsikitis, M. (2002). FACEM: The Facial Expression Measurement system. In M. Katsikitis (Ed.), The human face: Measurement and meaning (pp. 99–118). Dordrecht: Springer Science+Business Media New York.Google Scholar
  34. Katsikitis, M (1997) The classification of facial expression of emotion: a multidimensional-scaling approach. Perception, 26, 613–626.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Katsikitis, M. & Pilowsky, I. (1988) A study of facial expression in Parkinson’s disease using a novel computer-based method. Journal of Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 51, 362–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Katsikitis, M. & Pilowsky, I. (1991) A controlled quantitative study of facial expression in Parkinson’s and depression. Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 179, 683–688.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Katsikitis, M., Pridmore, S. & Marzullo, M. (1999) The facial measurment system in the assessment of the efficacy of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of depression. European Review of Applied Psychology, 49, 123–128.Google Scholar
  38. Kotsoni, E. (1999) Categorical perception of facial expressions by 7-Month-old human infants. A summary. Unpublished Manuscript, Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.Google Scholar
  39. Ledoux, J. (1996) The emotional brain; The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. Simon & Schuster, New York.Google Scholar
  40. Lien, J.J.J., Kanade, T. & Cohn, P.J.F. (2000) Detection, tracking, and classification of actions units in facial expression. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 31, 131–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Massaro, D.W. (1998) Perceiving talking faces: From speech perception to a behavioural principle. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Massaro, D.W. & Cohen, M.M. (1990) Perception of synthesized audible and visible speech. Psychological Science, 1, 55–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Morris, J.S., Frith, C.D., Perrett, D.I., Rowland, D., Young, A.W., Calder, A.J. & Dolan, R. J. (1996) A differential neural response in the human amygdala to fearful and happy facial expressions, Nature, 383, 812–815.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nahas, M. & Huitric, H. (1999) Synthesis of faces: A tool for experiments on facial expressions. European Review of Applied Psychology, (Special Issue) 49, 141–149.Google Scholar
  45. Öhman, A. (1986) Face the beast and fear the face: Animal and social fears as prototypes for evolutionary analysis of emotion. Psychophysiology, 23, 123–145.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Philipps, M.L., Young, A.W., Senior, C., Brammer, M., Andrew, C. & al. (1997) A specific neural substrate for perceiving facial expression of disgust. Nature, 389, 495–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Philips, M.L., Williams, L., Senior, C., Bullmore, E.T., Andrew, C., Williams, S.C.R. & David, A.S. (1999) A differential neural response to threatening and non-threatening negative facial expressions in paranoids and non paranoid schizophrenics. Psychiatry Research Neuro-Imaging, 92, 11–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Phillips, M.L., Young, A.W., Senior, C., Brammer, M., Andrew, C., Calder, A.J. & al., (1997) A specific neural substrate for perceiving facial expression of disgust. Nature, 389, 495–498.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Piaget, J. (1961) Les mécanismesperceptifs. Paris, PUF.Google Scholar
  50. Pilowsky, I. & Katsikitis, M. (1994) The classification of facial emotions: A computer-based taxonomic approach. Journal of Affective Disorders, 30, 61–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rapcsak, S.Z., Galper, S.R., Comer, J.F., Remnger, S.L., Nielsen, L., Kaszniak, A.W., Verfafellie, M., Laguna, J.F., Labiner, D.M. & Cohen, R.A. (2000) Fear recognition deficits after focal brain damage: a cautionary note. Neurology, 54, 575–581.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rosenberg S. & De Boeck P. (1997) Emotion depicted and experienced: Picasso’s Portraiture. In L. Dorfman, C. Martindale, D.G., Leontiev, V. Cupchick, V. Petrov, & P. Matchotka (Eds), Emotion, creativity A arts. (pp. 371–386). Penn: Institute of Art and Culture.Google Scholar
  53. Shuttleworth Jr, E.C., Syring, V. & Allen, N. (1982) Further observations on the nature of prosopagnosia. Brain and Cognition, 1, 307–322.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Stewart-Bartlett, M., Hager, J.C., Ekman, P., Sejnowski, T.J. & al., (1999) Measuring facial expressions by computer image analysis. Psychophysiology, 36, 253–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sugase, Y., Yamane, S. & Ueno, S. (1999) Global and fine information coded by single neurons in the temporal visual cortex. Nature, 400, 869–872.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Tiberghien, G. & Clerc, I. (1986) The cognitive locus of prosopagnosia. In R. Bruyer (Ed.), The neuropsychology of face perception and facial expression. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp. 39–62.Google Scholar
  57. Tomkins, S.S. & MC Carter, R. (1964) What and where are the primary affects? Some evidence for a theory. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 18, 119–158 (Monograph Supplement, 1-V18).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. van Mechelen, I., De Boeck, P. & Rosenberg, S. (1995) The conjunctive model of hierarchical classes. Psychometrika, 60, 505–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Young, A.W., Rowland D., Calder, A.J., Etcoff, N.L., Seth, A. & Perrett, D. (1997) Facial expression Megamix: tests of dimensional and category accounts of emotion recognition. Cognition, 63, 271–313.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Monique de Bonis
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité de Résonance Magnétique Médiacale (U2R2M)Université Paris XIFrance

Personalised recommendations