8th International Multisensory Research Forum Sydney, AUSTRALIA, JUL, 2007
In naturalistic settings emotional events have multiple correlates and are simultaneously perceived by several sensory systems. Recent studies have shown that recognition of facial expressions is biased towards the emotion expressed by a simultaneously presented emotional expression in the voice even if attention is directed to the face only. So far, no study examined whether this phenomenon also applies to whole body expressions, although there is no obvious reason why this crossmodal influence would be specific for faces. Here we investigated whether perception of emotions expressed in whole body movements is influenced by affective information provided by human and by animal vocalizations. Participants were instructed to attend to the action displayed by the body and to categorize the expressed emotion. The results indicate that recognition of body language is biased towards the emotion expressed by the simultaneously presented auditory information, whether it consist of human or of animal sounds. Our results show that a crossmodal influence from auditory to visual emotional information obtains for whole body video images with the facial expression blanked and includes human as well as animal sounds.