Emotional expression modulates perceived gaze direction.Emotion. 2008 Aug; 8(4):573-7.E
Gaze perception is an important social skill, as it portrays information about what another person is attending to. Gaze direction has been shown to affect interpretation of emotional expression. Here the authors investigate whether the emotional facial expression has a reciprocal influence on interpretation of gaze direction. In a forced-choice yes-no task, participants were asked to judge whether three faces expressing different emotions (anger, fear, happiness, and neutral) in different viewing angles were looking at them or not. Happy faces were more likely to be judged as looking at the observer than were angry, fearful, or neutral faces. Angry faces were more often judged as looking at the observer than were fearful and neutral expressions. These findings are discussed on the background of approach and avoidance orientation of emotions and of the self-referential positivity bias.