Faces in the Face of Death Essay

1839 WordsJul 1, 20148 Pages
Steven Michael Klumpe PSYC 100 6380 Introduction to Psychology (2145) Class Project 06/20/2014 Faces in the Face of Death Soldiers in war zones often experience life-threatening events that put their lives at stake. The present study examined how these exposures shape soldiers’ social behavior, manifested by recognition of facial expressions. In addition, we investigated how explicit awareness of one’s eventual death affects sensitivity to facial expressions. Veterans of elite military combat units were exposed to conditions of mortality or pain salience and later requested to label the emotions depicted in threatening and nonthreatening faces. Combat veterans were more accurate than noncombat veterans in identifying threatening expressions, both in mortality or pain salience induction (Experiment 1) or under no induction at all (Experiment 2). In addition, noncombat veterans primed with mortality salience identified fear expressions more accurately than those primed with pain salience. Finally, mortality salience improved accuracy for nonthreatening expressions for all veterans. The present results demonstrate that fear of death, resulting from exposure to concrete life-endangering perils or from thoughts on human’s inevitable death, influences perception of facial expressions, which is critical for successful interpersonal communication. To test the hypothesis that combat veterans would show higher sensitivity to threatening facial expressions than noncombat veterans, even under no stress induction, the experiment conducted a two-way repeated measures ANOVA, with Type of Military Service (combat/ noncombat) as a between-subjects factor and Expression Type (angry, fear, happy, sad) as a within-subject factor, with accuracy in emotion labeling as the dependent variable. (David Anaki, Tamar Brezniak, and Liron Shalom, 2012) The first experiment

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