Relationship status and sex differences in emotion lateralisation: An examination contrasting the processing of emotional infant and adult faces

Victoria-Jane Bourne, Domicele Jonauskaite

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When processing facial emotion, most individuals are right hemisphere dominant; however there is variability in this pattern with males typically being more strongly lateralised than females. Relationship status has been found to influence the processing of facial stimuli in women, and therefore, in this research the lateralised processing of facial emotion is considered whilst taking into account the participant’s relationship status and sex. Using the chimeric faces test, with both infant and adult facial stimuli, it was shown that partnered participants, but not single participants, were more strongly lateralised for the processing of adult stimuli than infant stimuli, and that partnered women did not show any hemispheric bias. These findings suggest that the neuropsychological processing of emotion may change dependent on an individual’s relationship status, and are discussed in terms of the possible evolutionary significance of infant faces for individuals who are in a relationship and who wish to have children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-302
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Early online date21 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

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