ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2018, Vol. 50 ›› Issue (8): 892-906.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2018.00892

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Emotional processing of winning and losing facial expression and body posture

WANG Lili1,FENG Wenfeng2(),JIA Lina3,ZHU Xiangru4,LUO Wenbo5,YANG Suyong6,LUO Yue-jia7,8()   

  1. 1 School of Educational Science, Huaiyin Normal University, Huaian 223300, China
    2 Department of Psychology, Soochow University, Jiangsu 215000, China
    3 School of Humanities, Jiangnan University, Wuxi 214122, China
    4 Institute of Cognition, Brain and Health, Henan University, Kaifeng 475001, China
    5 Research Center of Brain and Cognitive Neuroscience, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China
    6 Key Laboratory of Exercise and Health Sciences of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai 200438, China
    7 College of Psychology and Sociology, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
  • Received:2017-04-06 Published:2018-08-25 Online:2018-07-02
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For humans, both face and body play important roles in conveying emotional information. Previous studies showed that body postures rather than faces could provide more valid information about valence in the recognition of victory and defeat. The present study aimed to compare the processing of the faces and the bodies of victory and defeat.

The current study employed emotional expressions of Chinese professional players reacting to victory or defeat to compare the processing of emotional faces and body postures using behavioral and ERP recordings. 80 images (40 winners and 40 losers) were obtained through Google and Baidu image search, using the search keyword “reacting to winning a point” or “reacting to losing a point”, intersected with “tennis” or “table tennis” or “badminton”. In Experiment 1, the behavioral experiment asked participants to rate the valence and intensity of the faces and the body postures on a 9 point scale (valence: 1-the most negative and 9-the most positive; intensity: 1-the least intense and 9-the most intense). In Experiment 2, participants were asked to determine the type of emotion (neutral, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust) expressed by the faces and the body postures. In the ERP study (Experiment 3), participants were instructed to indicate the valence (positive or negative) of the faces and the body postures.

The behavioral results showed that body postures rather than faces facilitated the discrimination between victory and defeat. Compared to body postures, the faces were more complex and involved a variety of facial expressions. The behavioral result of the ERP study showed that body postures rather than faces could provide more valid information about valence. The ERP results showed that the emotional information of body postures could be detected earlier than faces, as reflected by larger N170 amplitudes for winning body postures than losing body postures. However, there was no significant N170 difference between winning faces and losing faces. The emotional effect of faces was reflected by the EPN component, and losing faces elicited larger negative EPN amplitudes than winning faces. On the contrary, winning body postures elicited larger negative EPN amplitudes than losing body postures. Moreover, victory elicited larger LPP amplitudes than defeat under both face and body conditions.

These data suggest that the higher rate of discrimination between winning body postures and losing body postures is possibly due to the stimulus evaluation and categorization of body postures at multiple stages of processing. It is hoped that the current results regarding the emotional processing of facial and body expressions will help us understand the mechanisms of the emotional brain.

Key words: body posture, facial expression, ERP

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