The present study aimed to quantify the magnitude of sex differences in humans' ability to accurately recognise non-verbal emotional displays. Studies of relevance were those that required explicit labelling of discrete emotions presented in the visual and/or auditory modality. A final set of 551 effect sizes from 215 samples was included in a multilevel meta-analysis. The results showed a small overall advantage in favour of females on emotion recognition tasks (d = 0.19). However, the magnitude of that sex difference was moderated by several factors, namely specific emotion, emotion type (negative, positive), sex of the actor, sensory modality (visual, audio, audio-visual) and age of the participants. Method of presentation (computer, slides, print, etc.), type of measurement (response time, accuracy) and year of publication did not significantly contribute to variance in effect sizes. These findings are discussed in the context of social and biological explanations of sex differences in emotion recognition.
- Emotion recognition
- Sex differences