Veiled emotions: The effect of covered faces on emotion perception and attitudes

Agneta H. Fischer, Marleen Gillebaart, Mark Rotteveel, Daniela Becker, Michael Vliek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study explores the relative absence of expressive cues and the effect of contextual cues on the perception of emotions and its effect on attitudes. The visibility of expressive cues was manipulated by showing films displaying female targets whose faces were either fully visible, covered by a niqab, or partially visible (control condition). Targets expressed anger, shame, and happiness in the three different face conditions. Results show that perception of emotions is mainly affected by an absence of expressive cues: Covering the lower part of the face results in the perception of less happiness in happy videos and of more intense negative emotions in both happy and shame videos. This bias toward the perception of more negative emotions in covered faces mediates a negative attitude toward niqabs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Covered faces
  • Emotion perception
  • Expressive cues
  • Stereotypes


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