Feb 4, 2014

Facial EMG responses to emotional expressions are related to emotion perception ability

PloS One
Janina KüneckeOliver Wilhelm


Although most people can identify facial expressions of emotions well, they still differ in this ability. According to embodied simulation theories understanding emotions of others is fostered by involuntarily mimicking the perceived expressions, causing a "reactivation" of the corresponding mental state. Some studies suggest automatic facial mimicry during expression viewing; however, findings on the relationship between mimicry and emotion perception abilities are equivocal. The present study investigated individual differences in emotion perception and its relationship to facial muscle responses - recorded with electromyogram (EMG)--in response to emotional facial expressions. N° = °269 participants completed multiple tasks measuring face and emotion perception. EMG recordings were taken from a subsample (N° = °110) in an independent emotion classification task of short videos displaying six emotions. Confirmatory factor analyses of the m. corrugator supercilii in response to angry, happy, sad, and neutral expressions showed that individual differences in corrugator activity can be separated into a general response to all faces and an emotion-related response. Structural equation modeling revealed a substantial relationship ...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Surface Electromyography
Larsen Syndrome
Pattern Recognition, Visual
Entire Skeletal Muscle of Face (Body Structure)
Facial Expression
Autistic Disorder

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