The inherently contextualized nature of facial emotion perception

Hillel Aviezer, Noga Ensenberg, Ran R. Hassin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


According to mainstream views of emotion perception, facial expressions are powerful signals conveying specific emotional states. This approach, which endorsed the use of stereotypical-posed faces as stimuli, has typically ignored the role of context in emotion perception. We argue that this methodological tradition is flawed. Real-life facial expressions are often highly ambiguous, heavily relying on contextual information. We review recent work suggesting that context is an inherent part of real-life emotion perception, often leading to radical categorical changes. Contextual effects are not an obscurity at the fringe of facial emotion perception, rather, they are part of emotion perception itself.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Oct 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


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