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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55885. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055885. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

Self-relevance appraisal influences facial reactions to emotional body expressions.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives (LNC), INSERM U960 & IEC, Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), 75005 Paris, France.


People display facial reactions when exposed to others' emotional expressions, but exactly what mechanism mediates these facial reactions remains a debated issue. In this study, we manipulated two critical perceptual features that contribute to determining the significance of others' emotional expressions: the direction of attention (toward or away from the observer) and the intensity of the emotional display. Electromyographic activity over the corrugator muscle was recorded while participants observed videos of neutral to angry body expressions. Self-directed bodies induced greater corrugator activity than other-directed bodies; additionally corrugator activity was only influenced by the intensity of anger expresssed by self-directed bodies. These data support the hypothesis that rapid facial reactions are the outcome of self-relevant emotional processing.

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