The current study examined discrepancies in facial recognition research results regarding emotional expression effects. Specifically, positive or negative expression advantages have been reported in face recognition across different studies. The current study explored delay effects as the cause of these mixed results. Target faces, half happy and half angry, were presented at study followed by recognition tests of the same and different faces at multiple test delays. An interaction was found between emotional expression and delay such that recognition of angry faces exceeded recognition of happy faces at shorter delays, whereas the reverse pattern was found for longer delays. The results support the suggestion that mixed findings regarding facial expression in past studies of face recognition are at least in part due to the variable delays used in those studies. Implications of these results for theoretical descriptions of facial recognition are discussed.

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