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Infant Pupil Diameter Changes in Response to Others' Positive and Negative Emotions.

Geangu, Elena and Hauf, Petra and Bhardwaj, Rishi and Bentz, Wolfram Florian (2011) Infant Pupil Diameter Changes in Response to Others' Positive and Negative Emotions. PLoS ONE, 6 (11).

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    Abstract

    It has been suggested that infants resonate emotionally to others' positive and negative affect displays, and that these responses become stronger towards emotions with negative valence around the age of 12-months. In this study we measured 6- and 12-month-old infants' changes in pupil diameter when presented with the image and sound of peers experiencing happiness, distress and an emotionally neutral state. For all participants the perception of another's distress triggered larger pupil diameters. Perceiving other's happiness also induced larger pupil diameters but for shorter time intervals. Importantly, we also found evidence for an asymmetry in autonomous arousal towards positive versus negative emotional displays. Larger pupil sizes for another's distress compared to another's happiness were recorded shortly after stimulus onset for the older infants, and in a later time window for the 6-month-olds. These findings suggest that arousal responses for negative as well as for positive emotions are present in the second half of the first postnatal year. Importantly, an asymmetry with stronger responses for negative emotions seems to be already present at this age.

    Item Type: Article
    Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
    Additional Information: Copyright: 2011 Geangu et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
    Uncontrolled Keywords: pupil response ; infancy ; emotion ; empathy
    Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
    Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Psychology
    ID Code: 59881
    Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
    Deposited On: 07 Nov 2012 09:21
    Refereed?: Yes
    Published?: Published
    Last Modified: 30 Sep 2013 15:25
    Identification Number:
    URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/59881

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