Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joseph Cangemi, Richard Miller, John O'Connor

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


An attempt was made to investigate the extent to which individuals involved in people oriented activity were better decoders of facial emotions than individuals engaged in non people oriented activity. It was hypothesized that the recognition of emotions through facial expressions would be more accurate if the decodification process were made by individuals engaged in people oriented activity than if it were undertaken by individuals engaged in non people oriented activity. Subjects participating in this study were an equal number of adult male and an equal number of adult female individuals engaged in people oriented activity and non people oriented activity (Western Kentucky University, faculty and staff members, and F.M.C. Corporation employees, Crane and Excavatory Division, Bowling Green, Kentucky). Individual slides of sixty faces posed for surprise, sadness, happiness, and anger (standarized by Ekman, 1976) were presented to the subjects. Eight seconds were allocated for viewing each slide. Answer sheets were provided the subjects for scoring their judgements. Subjects also indicated their age and job category in order to assign them to an appropriate sample group.

An index of decodification by group was calculated, and the data were analyzed by a 4x2x2 three factor mixed design, with repeated measures on one factor.

The results indicated significant differences in the decodification process between jobs and sex and within emotions. There were no significant interaction effects.

The data suggested the decoding process could be influenced by the type of activity in which one engages and probably by the training individuals who work with people have acquired in their past experience, since in these groups more than forty percent had been working in the same job more than three years.

As indicated in previous studies, females were better decoders than males, and sadness was the emotion wrongly decoded more frequently by the four groups.

Implications for further research include a better definition of job categories, age, working age, differences among activities and antecedents of decoding.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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