Emotion intensity rating task presenting faces with and without surgical face masks

This task was developed for research into the impact of surgical face masks on the perceived intensity of facial expressions of emotion. The task presents eight face identities (four women, four men), each posing seven facial expressions: neutral, happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, and surprised. Each face is presented twice: once with a face mask superimposed over the nose and mouth, and once without a mask. Each stimulus is rated on happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise. We created two versions of the rating task: one presenting faces for 500ms, and another presenting faces for 3000ms. In our analyses of data from 120 participants (60 in each version), we found little difference between these two versions, and therefore we recommend using the 500ms version. We also include a brief questionnaire with two statements regarding attitudes towards masks. In our experiment, these questions were completed after the emotion rating task, and were included to determine whether participants’ interpretation of masked and unmasked facial expressions was affected by attitudes to mask wearing.

Back to Open Materials


Emotion intensity rating task - faces presented for 500ms

This task is identical to the version "Emotion intensity rating task - faces presented for 3000ms", with the exception that faces are presented for 500ms.

This task presents eight identities (four women, four men), each posing seven facial expressions: neutral, happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, and surprised. Face stimuli were obtained from the Radboud Faces Database (Lagner et al., 2010). Each face is presented twice: once with a face mask superimposed over the nose and mouth, and once without a mask. Participants see 112 images in total (8 identities x 7 expressions x 2 mask conditions), which are presented in a random order. Masks were superimposed using Adobe Photoshop. Images were cropped to include only the face and neck, and are presented at 4.8cm width (approximately 7cm height) on the participants’ screen. Participants see the faces for 500ms. In each trial, images are preceded by a fixation cross (1000ms) and are replaced by a response screen. Participants rate the intensity of six emotions: happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, and surprised, using six response sliders ranging from 0 (‘not at all’) to 100 (‘extremely’). All six sliders are presented on the screen at the same time. The order of these sliders is held constant throughout.

Gorilla Open Materials Attribution-NonCommerical Research-Only


Radboud Faces Database
http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main


Emotion intensity rating task - faces presented for 3000ms

This task is identical to the version "Emotion intensity rating task - faces presented for 500ms", with the exception that faces are presented for 3000ms.

This task presents eight identities (four women, four men), each posing seven facial expressions: neutral, happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, and surprised. Face stimuli were obtained from the Radboud Faces Database (Lagner et al., 2010). Each face is presented twice: once with a face mask superimposed over the nose and mouth, and once without a mask. Participants see 112 images in total (8 identities x 7 expressions x 2 mask conditions), which are presented in a random order. Masks were superimposed using Adobe Photoshop. Images were cropped to include only the face and neck, and are presented at 4.8cm width (approximately 7cm height) on the participants’ screen. Participants see the faces for 3000ms. In each trial, images are preceded by a fixation cross (1000ms) and are replaced by a response screen. Participants rate the intensity of six emotions: happy, sad, angry, fearful, disgusted, and surprised, using six response sliders ranging from 0 (‘not at all’) to 100 (‘extremely’). All six sliders are presented on the screen at the same time. The order of these sliders is held constant throughout.

Gorilla Open Materials Attribution-NonCommerical Research-Only


Radboud Faces Database
http://www.socsci.ru.nl:8180/RaFD2/RaFD?p=main


Attitude towards masks questionnaire

Includes two statements regarding attitudes towards face masks: “Wearing a mask is an unpleasant experience”, and “People who wear masks in public places are silly”. Participants indicate their degree of agreement with each statement using a 5-point scale ranging from ‘strongly disagree’ (1) to ‘strongly agree’ (5).

Gorilla Open Materials Attribution-NonCommerical Research-Only

Preferred Citation Tsantani, M., Podgajecka, V., Gray, K. L., & Cook, R. (2022). How does the presence of a surgical face mask impair the perceived intensity of facial emotions?. PloS one, 17(1), e0262344.
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0262344
Conducted at Birkbeck, University of London
Published on 18 May 2021
Corresponding author Dr Maria Tsantani Postdoctoral Researcher
Psychological Sciences
Birkbeck, University of London