Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Diana L. Robins - Chair

Second Advisor

Roger Bakeman

Third Advisor

Erin B. McClure


Real-world perception of emotion results from the integration of multiple cues, most notably facial expression and affective prosody. The use of incongruent emotional stimuli presents an opportunity to study the interaction between sensory modalities. Thirty-seven participants were exposed to audio-visual stimuli (Robins & Schultz, 2004) including angry, fearful, happy, and neutral presentations. Eighty stimuli contain matching emotions and 240 contain incongruent emotional cues. Matching emotions elicited a significant number of correct responses for all four emotions. Sign tests indicated that for most incongruent conditions, participants demonstrated a bias towards the visual modality. Despite these findings, specific incongruent conditions did show evidence of blending. Future research should explore an evolutionary model of facial expression as a means for behavioral adaptation and the possibility of an “emotional McGurk effect” in particular combinations of emotions.

Included in

Psychology Commons