Our emotional state in a given moment may influence what we see, according to findings published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. In two experiments, researchers found that participants saw a neutral face as smiling more when it was paired with an unseen positive image.
The research shows that humans are active perceivers, say psychological scientist Erika Siegel of the University of California, San Francisco and her coauthors.
“We do not passively detect information in the world and then react to it — we construct perceptions of the world as the architects of our own experience. Our affective feelings are a critical determinant of the experience we create,” the researchers explain. “That is, we do not come to know the world through only our external senses — we see the world differently when we feel pleasant or unpleasant.”