Does exposure to hostile environments predict enhanced emotion detection?
SourceCollabra: Psychology, 4, 1, (2018), article 18
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
SW OZ BSI SCP
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Social Development
We used a Face-in-the-Crowd task to examine whether hostile environments predict enhanced detection of anger, and whether such enhanced cognition occurs for a di erent negative emotion, sadness, as well. We conducted a well-powered, preregistered study in 100 college students and 100 individuals from a community sample with greater exposure to hostile environments. At the group level, the community sample was less accurate at detecting both angry and sad faces than students; and, only students discriminated anger more accurately than sadness. At the individual level, having experienced more violence did not predict enhanced anger detection accuracy. In general, participants had a lower threshold (i.e., a more liberal criterion) for detecting emotion in response to anger than sadness. And, students had a higher threshold (i.e., a more conservative criterion) for detecting emotion than the community sample in response to both anger and sadness. Overall, these ndings contradict our hypothesis that exposure to hostile environments predicts enhanced danger detection. Rather, our community sample was more prone to over-perceiving emotions, consistent with previous studies showing bias in threat-exposed populations. Future work is needed to tease apart the conditions in which people exposed to social danger show enhanced accuracy or bias in their perception of emotions.
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