Previous research investigated the presence of differential autonomic responses towards the emotions expressed by individuals from ingroup or outgroup contexts. Results found increased affective reactions and typical identification bias that can be explained, according to "the similarity factor", as the tendency to tune stronger with those perceived as more similar. Then, few previous studies explored the presence of such mechanisms in intra and interspecies contexts. However, further investigation is needed to better explore these issues in developmental samples and to different emotionally valenced stimuli. Thus, we asked 30 children to watch emotional pictures involving child-child (CC) and child-animal (CA) interactions with negative, positive, or neutral valence. Autonomic responses were recorded and compared across species and gender. Results showed a higher sensitivity to intraspecies emotional valence (increased heart rate for negative compared to neutral stimuli) which was visible only in the female group, thus confirming the presence of a gender effect.
- Autonomic measures
- Emotion perception
- Intra/interspecies interactions
- Similarity factor