Simulationist models of face-based emotion recognition

Alvin I. Goldman, Chandra Sekhar Sripada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

444 Scopus citations


Recent studies of emotion mindreading reveal that for three emotions, fear, disgust, and anger, deficits in face-based recognition are paired with deficits in the production of the same emotion. What type of mindreading process would explain this pattern of paired deficits? The simulation approach and the theorizing approach are examined to determine their compatibility with the existing evidence. We conclude that the simulation approach offers the best explanation of the data. What computational steps might be used, however, in simulation-style emotion detection? Four alternative models are explored: a generate-and-test model, a reverse simulation model, a variant of the reverse simulation model that employs an "as if" loop, and an unmediated resonance model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-213
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Anger
  • Disgust
  • Emotion
  • Facial feedback
  • Fear
  • Mirror neurons
  • Simulation theory
  • Theory of mind
  • Theory theory


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