About the MindSpate test

MindSpate consists of three subtests:

  • recognition of facial emotion expressions
  • recognition of emotion expressions by posture
  • insight into ones emotion recognition capability

The scientific research that has been considered during the process of making the MindSpate test is presented in the downloadable manual. Here we are just going to show the parts that give an answer to the most frequently asked questions. We would like to remind You that You can try MindSpate for free.


Q: Does it exist a correct answer to the items? Isn´t the test takers own interpretation always right?

A: The right answer in the subtest with facial emotions recognition is based on the activity of the muscles known to be actice in the specific emotion based on research from Gray (1918) and Ekman & Friesen (2003). As for the subtest with emotion expressions by posture each pose is consistent with the core elements of poses used in descriptions of poses in regard to emotional display (Darwin 1872, Gratiolet 1865, Coulson 2004, Atkinson et al. 2004, Wallbott 1998, Kleinsmith et al. 2006).


Q: Why have you choosen to have only three alternative answers?

A: To facilitate a faster response it was opted that each item would have only 3 response options,
one correct answer and two erroneous ones. In everyday life you often need to respond quickly to peoples emotion expressions so it is important to keep reaction times short in the testsituation as well. The selection of distractors were based on the research on clinical groups mentioned in the theory section of the manual. This is the reason some of the distractors appear more frequent than others.


Q: Why did you use animated images instead of photographs?

A: Although actors can be trained to contract the correct muscle groups, particularly for still pictures it cannot be positively excluded that other muscle groups also would be contracted. Humans express emotions with a good deal of individuality and the various emotional expressions reproduced by actors can either include other facial muscles or lack some of the muscles found to be commonly prevalent in humans globally on a population level. (Ekman & Friesen 1978). Attempting to evoke authentic feeling in actors by presenting them with emotion evoking stimuli can also misfire as one cannot have total control over which emotions are evoked by any certain given stimuli. Some people may react in one fashion while another person may react quite the opposite (Hess & Kleck 1990).
Another factor thought to lessen validity, due to the, indeed, human factor, is that negative emotions are more difficult to portray, perhaps due to the difficulties of violating what is socially accepted to reveal in public (Walbott 1988). Deception often leads to increased arousal (Lykken 1979) which can contaminate the intended expression. Guilt or embarrassment can do the same (Kraut 1980). Another phenomena known to affect the outcome is what Ekman (1981) refers to as duper’s delight, where the person portraying an unfelt emotion becomes affected by the thrill of succeeding in the deception which influence the expression. Additionally many of the muscles in the human face involved in expressing emotions are very difficult to manipulate voluntarily, for instance the muscles involved in raising the cheeks, a cue of actual happiness rather than faked. (Gosselin et al. 2005) It has also been found that even if it is possible to master each of the individual parts of each facial expression the complete configuration is very difficult to portray at the same time, and often the case is that the actor then at the same time involuntarily uses muscles used for another emotion altogether (Gosselin et al. 2005). Since different configurations of expressions are of varied difficulty for different actors (Gosselin et al. 2005) it would be a difficult and uncertain enterprise to make use of actual humans for portraying emotions if one seeks to display a similar facial expression in different faces. Posed expressions are easier to interpret correctly than authentic ones (Keltner 1995). In order to increase the variance of the test results it is advantageous to have a variety of faces since some people are easier to read and others are harder. It is also an advantage that with computer rendered images you can choose to show the emotions with low, medium and high intensity.


Q: Wouldn´t it be better to use videos instead of still pictures in the epressions by posture subtest?

A: Since MindSpate measures response time you need to show emotions that can be interpreted immediately.


Q: You have chosen to use Wechsler scale for the results. Why?

A: Most psychologists are familiar with the Wechslertest (WPPSI, WISC or WAIS) so we decided to use the same scale.


Q: How come I don´t get exactly the same results in the outprint when I repeat the testing?

A: The results in the first page of the outprint are to a degree sensitive to how you feel during the testing, but all in all a person who has a high score will have about an as high score on a retest. The profile on the second page shows more profound personality traits. It is also the results from the second page where most research on clinical groups has been made to try to prove that people with different diagnoses have difficulties with a specific emotion as shown in the manual.