Accuracy and bias in emotion perception predict affective response to relationship conflict

William J. Brady, Emily Balcetis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Facial expressions of emotions are a communicative tool in relationships. We argue that given expressions' impact on social experiences, individual differences in people's abilities to read others' emotional expressions may predict affective reactions to conflict. We theoretically distinguish between emotion perception accuracy and bias, and describe when these two perceptual abilities apply to the perception of facial displays. We then present data from a preliminary study testing the impact of emotion perception accuracy and bias on affective reactions people have during stages of conflict. While only conflict severity predicted negative affect experience in the stages prior to a fight, bias predicted negative affect during conflict and the ability to recover from conflict. Accuracy predicted negative felt affect after conflict. Implications for the study of emotion perception and relationship quality are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Visual Perception Research
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781634824798
ISBN (Print)9781634824552
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • Ambiguous perception
  • Emotion
  • Facial expression
  • Identification
  • Interpretation
  • Recovery
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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