Emotional facial expressions differentially influence predictions and performance for face recognition

Jason S. Nomi, Matthew G. Rhodes, Anne M. Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study examined how participants' predictions of future memory performance are influenced by emotional facial expressions. Participants made judgements of learning (JOLs) predicting the likelihood that they would correctly identify a face displaying a happy, angry, or neutral emotional expression in a future two-alternative forced-choice recognition test of identity (i.e., recognition that a person's face was seen before). JOLs were higher for studied faces with happy and angry emotional expressions than for neutral faces. However, neutral test faces with studied neutral expressions had significantly higher identity recognition rates than neutral test faces studied with happy or angry expressions. Thus, these data are the first to demonstrate that people believe happy and angry emotional expressions will lead to better identity recognition in the future relative to neutral expressions. This occurred despite the fact that neutral expressions elicited better identity recognition than happy and angry expressions. These findings contribute to the growing literature examining the interaction of cognition and emotion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Emotional facial expressions
  • Face recognition
  • Memory
  • Metamemory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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