Face Emotion Recognition

Open Access
Crozier, William Edward
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Nancy Anne Coulter Dennis, Thesis Supervisor
  • David A. Rosenbaum, Honors Advisor
  • Memory
  • eyewitness
  • facial memory
  • emotional expression
  • emotional memory
Memory is an extensively-tested mechanism within psychology that is affected by a wide variety of factors. In this study, participants view 40 faces with either a neutral or negative emotional expression. Then, participants’ are tested on if they remember the face. For 20 of the faces, the emotional expression is changed (either from neutral at encoding to negative at retrieval, or vice-versa) while for the other 20, the emotion is kept the same. In each case, participants showed memory above chance-level (compared to 14 distractor photographs with neutral expressions and 14 distractor photographs with negative expressions). Participants showed better memory for faces initially displayed as negatively expressive. Participants also showed statistically-significant impaired performance for the neutral to negative condition compared to that of the neutral to neutral, negative to negative, and negative to neutral conditions. This suggests that if an emotional countenance change occurs, a negative expression at retrieval interferes with a participant’s memory. Possible explanations for this result are explored as well as possible directions for further study.