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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Modeling Cue-integration in Emotion Inferences


Inferences of other’s emotion states are influenced by multiple sources including target cues such as facial movements and the situational context. Our understanding of how information from these cues is integrated is limited, however. We examined whether people integrate information from faces and situations to infer emotions as predicted by an existing model of affective cognition. We applied a Bayesian cue-integration model to a dataset that includes a variety of complex social situations that reflect the heterogeneity of emotion contexts in social lives. Results indicate that when viewing both faces and situations, situation information alone predicted people’s inference about emotions better than Bayesian cue-integration model. However, there was some variability in this pattern across emotion categories as the Bayesian cue-integration model best predicted inferences for emotion categories of amusement and happiness. These findings better our understanding of the interplay between facial and situational cues in informing emotion inferences.

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