Emotion Label Priming: Does The Placement of an Emotion Perception Question Matter?


Miranda Roseman

Faculty Mentor(s)

Mary Radeke (Psychology), Anthony Stahelski (Psychology)


This study investigates personality trait inferences through priming emotion recognition in facial expressions. The emotion on a face must be recognized before appraisal can be attained, and cognitive primes (categorization and perceptual prompts) produce significant changes in judgement (Murphy & Zajonc, 1993). This study closely replicates the study published by Radeke & Stahelski (2020) that used different age and gender models to measure social perception and personality trait formations from smiling, scowling, and neutral facial expressions. Results indicated that across all gender and age conditions, smiling expressions elicited positive personality inferences while scowling expressions elicited negative personality inferences. The presence of the emotion label question placed at the beginning of Radeke & Stahelski’s (2020) study led researchers to question whether or not the position of the question influenced the results. Participants in this study viewed a model demonstrating anger, disgust, and neutral expressions to illicit Big-5 personality trait inferences: agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, extraversion, and openness (Goldberg, 1992). Four conditions were compared to determine if the position of the emotion recognition question primed responses to the Big-5 personality inferences. A randomized emotion recognition question was presented before, mid-way, and after the Big-5 adjectives (a shortened version of Goldberg’s 100 adjective Big-5, referred to as Mini-Markers, was used for this study) (Saucier, 1994, 2002). A fifth condition; no emotion recognition question, was included for comparison. Preliminary analysis indicates that the emotion priming question position has no effect on the way participants perceived personality inferences. Implications are discussed.



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