Participants needed for study on emotional blindness December 5, 2012 While we’ve all heard of colour-blindness, a Murdoch University researcher is exploring the phenomenon of ‘emotional blindness’. Tracey Woolrych of Murdoch’s School of Law said anecdotal evidence from her ongoing study suggests some people have blank spots for reading certain emotions. “We assume people read emotional cues in the same way, but that’s not the case. My research suggests certain individuals misinterpret more subtle body language and facial expressions. They can’t see degrees of fear or sadness,” Ms Woolrych said. “This can of course lead to major problems, because when people are unsure of what another person is expressing, they go to their emotional default. “For some people, this is a hostile bias, where instead of reading fear, they see aggression and get angry. We encounter this in situations where people keep hitting and don’t stop, or where a situation escalates for no apparent reason.” Ms Woolrych said the focus of previous studies had been too narrow, reducing real-world value. “Researchers have used only a few options – a few faces – and have focussed on strong expressions. Very little has been done on the subtle nuances of expressions, which is where most problems of interpretation lay,” Ms Woolrych said. “Photos in past studies have tended to be head and shoulder shots, but that’s not how we interpret others in a social setting. We need full body interpretation.” Ms Woolrych said her goal was to create an instrument that could be used in the rehabilitation of violent offenders. “Over the past 20 years, there has been a focus on giving violent offenders empathy training, but the root of empathy is understanding how people are feeling and responding accordingly,” she said. “If you don’t have that ability, there’s no point in learning about the concept of empathy.” Ms Woolrych is currently looking for 120-150 members of the general public to take part in a 15 minute survey. Participants can win one of three $50 gift vouchers. To take part, email here. Print This Post Media contact: Rob Payne Tel: (08) 9360-2491 | Mobile: | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Categories: General, Teaching and Learning, Future Students, International students, Research, Schools, School of Law Research, school of law Tags: body language, emotional blindness, hostile bias, school of law, tracey woolrych, violence Leave a comment Name (required) Mail (will not be published) (required) Website You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published. Thanks for commenting!