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Lakartidningen. 2002 Mar 27;99(13):1438-42.

[The facial expression says more than words. Is emotional "contagion" via facial expression the first step toward empathy?].

[Article in Swedish]

Author information

  • 1Institutionen för psykologi, Lunds universitet. marianne.sonnby-borgstrom@hs.mah.se


The hypotheses of this investigation were based on the conception of automatic mimicking being an early component involved in the formation of emotional empathy. The parameters compared were facial mimicry reactions, as represented by electromyographic (EMG) activity when subjects were exposed to pictures of angry or happy faces, and the degree of correspondence between facial EMG reactions and their own reported feelings. The subjects in the high-empathy group were found to have a higher degree of mimicking behaviour, while the low-empathy group showed inverse zygomaticus muscle reactions; they "smiled" when exposed to angry faces.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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