In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders

Wegrzyn M, Westphal S, Kißler J (2017)
BMC Psychology 5(16).

Download
OA 1.86 MB
Journal Article | Original Article | Published | English
Author
Abstract
Background Why is it that certain violent criminals repeatedly find themselves engaged in brawls? Many inmates report having felt provoked or threatened by their victims, which might be due to a tendency to ascribe malicious intentions when faced with ambiguous social signals, termed hostile attribution bias. Methods The present study presented morphed fear-anger faces to prison inmates with a history of violent crimes, a history of child sexual abuse, and to matched controls form the general population. Participants performed a fear-anger decision task. Analyses compared both response frequencies and measures derived from psychophysical functions fitted to the data. In addition, a test to distinguish basic facial expressions and questionnaires for aggression, psychopathy and personality disorders were administered. Results Violent offenders present with a reliable hostile attribution bias, in that they rate ambiguous fear-anger expressions as more angry, compared to both the control population and perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Psychometric functions show a lowered threshold to detect anger in violent offenders compared to the general population. This effect is especially pronounced for male faces, correlates with self-reported aggression and presents in absence of a general emotion recognition impairment. Conclusions The results indicate that a hostile attribution, related to individual level of aggression and pronounced for male faces, might be one mechanism mediating physical violence.
Publishing Year
ISSN
Financial disclosure
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
PUB-ID

Cite this

Wegrzyn M, Westphal S, Kißler J. In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders. BMC Psychology. 2017;5(16).
Wegrzyn, M., Westphal, S., & Kißler, J. (2017). In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders. BMC Psychology, 5(16). doi:10.1186/s40359-017-0186-z
Wegrzyn, M., Westphal, S., and Kißler, J. (2017). In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders. BMC Psychology 5.
Wegrzyn, M., Westphal, S., & Kißler, J., 2017. In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders. BMC Psychology, 5(16).
M. Wegrzyn, S. Westphal, and J. Kißler, “In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders”, BMC Psychology, vol. 5, 2017.
Wegrzyn, M., Westphal, S., Kißler, J.: In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders. BMC Psychology. 5, (2017).
Wegrzyn, Martin, Westphal, Sina, and Kißler, Johanna. “In your face: the biased judgement of fear-anger expressions in violent offenders”. BMC Psychology 5.16 (2017).
All files available under the following license(s):
Copyright Statement:
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. [...]
Main File(s)
Access Level
OA Open Access
Last Uploaded
2017-07-13T07:13:34Z

This data publication is cited in the following publications:
This publication cites the following data publications:

Export

0 Marked Publications

Open Data PUB

Search this title in

Google Scholar