Please wait a minute...
Acta Psychologica Sinica    2016, Vol. 48 Issue (8) : 946-956     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2016.00946
The influence of individual aggression on categorical perception of angry expression
QIU Fanghui1; LUO Yuejia2,3; JIA Shiwei1
(1 School of Psychology, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250358, China) (2 Institute of Affective and Social Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China) (3 National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China)
Download: PDF(1364 KB)   Review File (1 KB) 
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks    

Aggressive individuals show abnormality in recognizing angry expressions. Limited research has specifically examined the nature of the dysfunction in expression categorization in normal individuals with high-level aggression. The current study aimed to examine which hypothesis, the response bias or the perceptual sensitivity, could account for the abnormality in identifying angry faces in normal individuals with high-level aggression. By using the Chinese version of Buss- Perry Aggression Questionnaire (AQ-CV), 29 high-level aggressive individuals and 25 low-level aggressive individuals were chosen as participants from 846 undergraduates. Using FaceGen Modeller software, the prototype photographs of anger and fear were morphed to create a linear continuum of 11 facial images with 10% increment between each intermediate image. By employing a categorical perception paradigm, participants were told to complete a discrimination task and then an identification task. In the identification task, the shift points, indicating the emotional intensity where the participants' identification was 50%, and the response slopes, indicating how rapidly the changes have happened at the shift points in the anger to fear continuum, were measured. In the discrimination task, participants had to decide whether the second face of the pair was exactly the same as the first one and only accuracy was analyzed. We compared the differences of shift point and response slope on identifying morphed expressions and the accuracy on discriminating anger to fear images between individuals with high- and low-level aggression. In the identification task, the shift point and slope of the anger to fear continuum were analyzed with Independent-Sample T Test, which revealed a significant difference between the two groups on response slope, but not shift point. The slope of individuals with high-level aggression was significantly higher than that of the individuals with low-level aggression. By repeated measure ANOVA, it showed that comparing with low level aggressive individuals, the response time of high-level aggressive individuals was significantly faster when they identified the expression closest to anger prototype. In the discrimination task, we discovered that the peak points of discriminating accuracy in the two groups were differed, though insignificantly, with high-level aggressive individuals displaying a bias for perceptual categories of anger relative to low-level aggressive individuals. Further analysis on sub-dimension of AQ-CV indicated that individuals with high-level physical aggression, verbal aggression or hostility showed significantly more sensitivity to angry expression when compared with corresponding low-level aggressive individuals. In conclusion, the findings of the present study suggest that, compared with individuals with low-level aggression, individuals with high-level aggression (1) are more perceptually sensitive to the change of facial anger and fear, which supports the sensitivity perspective; (2) tend to exhibit a bias to perceive ambiguous expressions as angry, but this tendency was not statistically significant, which did not support the hostility attribution bias perspective.

Keywords expression processing      aggression      categorical perception      hostile attribution bias      sensitivity     
Corresponding Authors: JIA Shiwei1, E-mail:    
Issue Date: 25 August 2016
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
Cite this article:   
QIU Fanghui; LUO Yuejia; JIA Shiwei. The influence of individual aggression on categorical perception of angry expression[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica,2016, 48(8): 946-956.
URL:     OR
[1] YAO Yao,CHEN Xiaoxiang. The effects of music training on categorical perception of Mandarin tones in 4- to 5-year-old children[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2020, 52(4): 456-468.
[2] WU Baizhou,LI Jie,HE Hu,HOU You,JIA Yingqi,FENG Shenxing. Categorical perception of color can be instantly influenced by color vision fatigue and semantic satiation[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(2): 196-206.
[3] DUAN Jinyun,SHI Bei,WANG Xiaotian. The influence of advice-seeker’s gaze direction on advisor’s advice-giving[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(12): 1363-1374.
[4] XIE Shushu,ZHANG Jijia,ZHU Jun. Categorical perception of color is significant both in the right visual field and the left: Evidence from Naxi speakers and Mandarin speakers[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2019, 51(11): 1229-1243.
[5] Qi JIANG,Lulu HOU,Jiang QIU,Changran LI,Huanzhen WANG. The relationship between the caudate nucleus-orbitomedial prefrontal cortex connectivity and reactive aggression: A resting-state fMRI study[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(6): 655-666.
[6] Jie LI,Hu HE,Baizhou WU,You HOU,Kang CAO,Ruhan A. Behavioral and ERP study of color categorical perception in proficient and nonproficient bilinguals[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2018, 50(11): 1259-1268.
[7] DONG Shuyang; LIANG Xi; ZHANG Ying; WANG Zhengyan. Maternal positive parenting behaviors and toddler’s compliance: Prediction from maternal sensitivity in infancy and bidirectional effects of autonomy encouragement in toddlerhood[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(4): 460-471.
[8] HENG Shupeng, ZHOU Zongkui, NIU Gengfeng, LIU Qingqi.  Priming effects of virtual avatars on aggression: Influence of violence and player gender[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(11): 1460-1472.
[9] ZHANG Lin; LIU Shen; XU Qiang; WU Xiaoyan; YANG Mengyuan. Long-term effect of violence exposure in real-life on aggressive behaviors: A moderated mediation model[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2017, 49(1): 50-59.
[10] YANG Haibo; LIU Dianzhi. Validity and sensitivity analysis of segment recognition task on implicit sequence learning[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(3): 230-237.
[11] YING Mengting; JIANG Guangrong; YU Lixia; LU Ting. Patterns of reinforcement sensitivity for non-suicidal self-injury in college students[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2016, 48(3): 258-270.
[12] LIU Siyun; MENG Jianxin. The Influence of Language Labels and Self-Reference on New Object Categorical Perception[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(3): 285-299.
[13] YANG Yaping; XU Qiang; ZHANG Lin; DENG Peizhuang; LIANG Ningjian. Scenes Differing in Spatial Frequencies Affect Facial Expression Processing: Evidence from ERP[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(12): 1433-1444.
[14] LIU Wen; ZHU Lin; ZHANG Xue; ZHANG Yu; LIU Ying. Equity Sensitivity of 2~3 Years Old Children in Distribution Condition[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2015, 47(11): 1341-1348.
[15] ZHENG Qiuchen. Effects of Vowels on Mandarin Tone Categorical Perception[J]. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 2014, 46(9): 1223-1231.
Full text



Copyright © Acta Psychologica Sinica
Support by Beijing Magtech