Jessica wins the Undergraduate Project Prize

Jessica Teed has recently been awarded the 2021 Experimental Psychology Society / British Science Association Undergraduate Project Prize.

Jessica won the best undergraduate research project in experimental psychology award for her dissertation titled “Exploring temporal dynamics of facial expressions: Early categorisation confusions do not indicate shared evolutionary function”. The award gives recognition to undergraduate students that produce outstanding scientific work. 

Jessica’s project addressed the controversy as to how facial expressions of emotions are perceived. Recently Jack et al., (2014) proposed the controversial suggestion that facial expressions convey different information over the time-course of the expression. Initially expression convey biologically relevant information (e.g. threat information) and as the expression develops, more socially meaningful information is displayed. As such, expressions which require the same biological response, specifically anger/disgust, and fear/surprise will be confused at the beginning of the emotion. Jessica tested this prediction by looking at the systematic confusion that occurs when participants only view the beginning of the emotion compared to seeing the whole emotion. Although participants made more errors when they viewed the beginning of the emotion, the confusions were not consistent with Jack predictions. This has important implications for our understanding of how facial expressions are perceived.

Dr. Richard Harris, Jessica’s supervisor congratulated her on the award “It was a pleasure to supervise Jess. Jess carried out her project largely independently, developing novel discussion points and showed initiative during data analysis. The award is thoroughly deserved, and I wish Jess all the best in future as she undertakes a career in academia”. 

Congratulations Jessica!