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Featural shift in explanation-biased memory for emotional faces.

Journal of personality and social psychology. 
[Record Source: PubMed]
J. B. Halberstadt and P. M. Niedenthal (2001) reported that explanations of target individuals' emotional states biased memory for their facial expressions in the direction of the explanation. The researchers argued for, but did not test, a 2-stage model of the explanation effect, such that verbal explanation increases attention to facial features at the expense of higher level featural configuration, making the faces vulnerable to conceptual reintegration in terms of available emotion categories. The current 4 experiments provided convergent evidence for the "featural shift" hypothesis by examining memory for both faces and facial features following verbal explanation. Featural attention was evidenced by verbalizers' better memory for features relative to control participants and reintegration by a weaker explanation bias for features and configurally altered faces than for whole, unaltered faces. The results have implications for emotion, attribution, language, and the interaction of implicit and explicit processing.
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