Validation of the P1vital® Faces Set for Use as Stimuli in Tests of Facial Emotion Recognition

Julia A. Romano, Laura Vosper, Jonathan A. Kingslake, Colin T. Dourish, Suzanne Higgs, Jason M. Thomas, Andreea Raslescu, Gerard R. Dawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Negative bias in facial emotion recognition is a well-established concept in mental disorders such as depression. However, existing face sets of emotion recognition tests may be of limited use in international research, which could benefit from more contemporary and diverse alternatives. Here, we developed and provide initial validation for the P1vital® Affective Faces set (PAFs) as a contemporary alternative to the widely-used Pictures of Facial Affect (PoFA). Methods: The PAFs was constructed of 133 color photographs of facial expressions of ethnically-diverse trained actors and compared with the PoFA, comprised of 110 black and white photographs of facial expressions of generally Caucasian actors. Sixty-one recruits were asked to classify faces from both sets over six emotions (happy, sad, fear, anger, disgust, surprise) varying in intensity in 10% increments from 0 to 100%. Results: Participants were significantly more accurate in identifying correct emotions viewing faces from the PAFs. In both sets, participants identified happy faces more accurately than fearful faces, were least likely to misclassify facial expressions as happy and most likely to misclassify all emotions at low intensity as neutral. Accuracy in identifying facial expressions improved with increasing emotion intensity for both sets, reaching peaks at 60 and 80% intensity for the PAFs and PoFA, respectively. The study was limited by small sizes and age-range of participants and ethnic diversity of actors. Conclusions: The PAFs successfully depicted a range of emotional expressions with improved performance over the PoFA and may be used as a contemporary set in facial expression recognition tests.
Original languageEnglish
Article number663763
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 Romano, Vosper, Kingslake, Dourish, Higgs, Thomas, Raslescu
and Dawson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of
the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or
reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the
copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal
is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or
reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


  • Psychiatry
  • psychiatric disease
  • depression
  • facial emotion recognition
  • P1vital® Affective Faces set
  • Pictures of Facial Affect


Dive into the research topics of 'Validation of the P1vital® Faces Set for Use as Stimuli in Tests of Facial Emotion Recognition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this