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Remembering faces with emotional expressions

Liu, Chang Hong; Chen, Wenfeng; Ward, James


Chang Hong Liu

Wenfeng Chen

James Ward


It is known that happy faces create more robust identity recognition memory than faces with some other expressions. However, this advantage was not verified against all basic expressions. Moreover, no research has assessed whether similar differences also exist among other expressions. To tackle these questions, we compared the effects of six basic emotional expressions on recognition memory using a standard old/new recognition task. The experiment also examined whether exposure to different emotional expressions at training creates variable effects on transfer of the trained faces to a new/neutral expression. Our results suggest that happy faces produced better identity recognition relative to disgusted faces, regardless of whether they were tested in the same image or a new image displaying a neutral expression. None of the other emotional expressions created measurable advantage for recognition memory. Overall, our data lend further support for the happy face advantage for long-term recognition memory. However, our detailed analyses also show that the advantage of happy expression on identity recognition may not be equally discernible from all other emotional expressions.


Liu, C. H., Chen, W., & Ward, J. (2014). Remembering faces with emotional expressions. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(DEC), Article ARTN 1439.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 25, 2014
Online Publication Date Dec 10, 2014
Publication Date Dec 10, 2014
Deposit Date May 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2016
Journal Frontiers in psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Issue DEC
Article Number ARTN 1439
Keywords Facial expression; Transfer of expression training; Identity recognition; Emotion; Memory
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is a copy of an open access article published in Frontiers in psychology, 2014, v.5.


Article.pdf (467 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014 Liu, Chen and Ward. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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