These are the latest result from our research in our lab:
A Comparison of Humans and Machine Learning Classifiers Categorizing Emotion from Faces with Different Coverings
This research compared the ability of humans and artificial emotion classification systems in categorizing emotion from faces of people with sunglasses and different face masks. We presented images of emotional facial expressions and added three different coverings—sunglasses, the full covering masks used by front-line workers, and a newly transparent mask with a transparent mouth window (see Fig. 1). We found that artificial emotion classification systems perform better than humans when sunglasses (> 7% difference) or no covering (> 15% difference) were used. However, the performance of artificial emotion classification systems suffered a significantly larger decrease in comparison to humans with masks (> 30%) added to the face. Therefore, these artificial emotion classification systems are anticipated to perform badly in understanding peoples’ emotion from their face, particularly given the added challenge brought on by the face masks. This study was conducted by Harisu Abdullahi Shehu You can find the related publication here.
Fig 1. Sample unmasked, masked, transparent mask, and sunglasses images presented to humans and artificial emotion classification systems.
[updated 16 November 2022]
Does sexual arousal predict riskier sexual decision-making?
A study by Ariel and Lowenstein (2006) first investigated this relationship and found that sexual arousal significantly increased sexually risky and aggressive behaviour. The primary aim of our study was to replicate the findings of Ariel and Lowenstein (2006) using both male and female participants (N = 91). Our study also investigated the role of trait impulsivity and sexual decision-making, as well as examining the physiological and self-report concordance of arousal. Sexually explicit video clips as well as hypothetical romantic scenarios were used to evaluate the effects of sexual arousal on sexual risk-taking intentions. Additional anger, amusement and neutral conditions were used as comparison conditions. The findings from this study suggests that sexual arousal impacted sexual decision-making but to a lesser degree than what was found in Ariely & Loewenstein (2006). Impulsivity was also shown to be a significant factor within this relationship as individuals higher in trait impulsivity, self-reported riskier sexual decisions. Physiological and self-report measures showed no concurrency. Taken together, these findings suggest that in scenarios where both men and women are sexually aroused, they may lower their inhibition and experience impaired decision-making. This effect becomes further compounded if individuals are also high in trait impulsivity. This interaction may have a negative impact during sexual encounters and be a key contributor to the STI and sexual violence pandemic.
This study was conducted by Joseph Savio and is in the process of writing up for publication.
[updated 21 November 2022]
The sense of agency changes in motivational states dependent on personality traits
We all have experienced the heat of the moment and maybe feeling as though we lost the control over what we did or didn’t even consider the consequences at that moment. We investigated how our feeling of control, our sense of agency, is affected by our motivations, especially sexual arousal and pleasure and examined the effects of these states dependent on personality traits such as psychopathy and high anxiety. Participants watched short videos showing a pornographic or romantic scene while being in an eye tracker and we observed their heart rate and skin conductance as measures of their motivational response. Our results showed that the feeling of control over actions in sexual arousal was still intact in individuals with higher psychopathic traits, however, the link of awareness of consequences following these actions vanished completely. Individuals with high anxiety mirrored this pattern in the opposite direction, the link between actions and consequences was strengthened but the feeling of control over actions was reduced in sexual arousal and pleasure. Our findings highlight that the feeling of control and the awareness of consequences are two different processes that can diverge within one individual highly motivational states.
This study was done by Anna Render and the results are currently in the publication process.