Featural information is sufficient to produce a left cheek bias for happiness perception Academic Article uri icon


  • People perceive the left cheek as more emotionally expressive than the right. Both configural and featural information enable the evaluation of emotional expressions; whether they make equivalent contributions to the left cheek bias is undetermined. As scrambling faces disrupts configural processing whilst leaving featural information intact, we investigated whether configural information is necessary, or featural information is sufficient, to induce a left cheek bias for emotion perception. Eighty-one participants (65 F, 16 M) viewed two types of left and right cheek image pairs - normal, scrambled - and indicated which image appeared happier (half mirror-reversed to control for perceptual biases). Results indicated a left cheek bias for both normal and scrambled faces, irrespective of mirror reversal. As scrambling faces disrupts configural processing, the fact that the left cheek was perceived as more expressive even when scrambled confirms that differences between the cheeks' featural information are sufficient to induce the left cheek bias.

publication date

  • 2016