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The face-in-the-crowd and anxiety and cognition



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Hansen and Hansen (1988) found that angry targets in happy crowds were found more quickly and accurately than happy targets in angry crowds. This finding, they dubbed the Face-in-the-Crowd effect. Gilboa-Schechtman and colleagues (1999) found that high anxious participants show a greater enhancement of detecting angry versus happy targets. The purpose of the current studies was to replicate these findings, and to determine whether Rational and Experiential decision-making styles play a role in target detection (Study One) and crowd searching (Study Two), and if these decision-making styles interact with affective predisposition for both reaction time and galvanic skin response in the face-in-the-crowd task. In Study One, I replicated the anger superiority effect and the Anxiety x Target interaction. I also found that the Rational Group tended to be faster than the Experiential Group overall. I found that the High Trait Anxious group had higher GSR than the Low Trait Anxious group averaged over both target conditions. The Rational group had higher GSR when presented with happy targets than when presented with angry targets whereas the Experiential group did not show this difference. In Study Two, I failed to replicate the anger inferiority effect of crowd searching, but I did find that the Rational group tended to be faster than the Experiential group, especially for angry crowd searching. I also found that the Low-State-Anxious-Rational group had lower galvanic skin responses than all other groups across all analyses. The most exciting finding of these two studies was that he Rational Group demonstrated a facility for the face-in-the-crowd task, validating decision-making style as an important dimension to be considered in future face-in-the-crowd research. The research also provided support for network theories and it is hoped that future studies might endeavor to explore facial processing with this theoretical framework in mind.



affect infusion model, galvanic skin response, face recognition, emotion, rational, experiential, decision-making style, affect, reaction time, angry, happy, neutral, cognitive experiential self theory, rational experiential inventory, network theory, dual process model



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)






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