This paper illustrates a research project on the visual cues that account for the ability to recognize emotions from upper-body movements. We describe an experiment that evaluated whether human observers could discriminate between high and low arousal emotions by means of impoverished displays representing the motion and shape information of the head and the hands. We investigated the effects of figure-ground segregation and inversion of the displays on (i) the recognition of emotion, (ii) the perception of biological motion and (iii) the animacy experience.
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