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Int J Psychophysiol. 1992 May;12(3):251-65.

The facilitative effect of facial expression on the self-generation of emotion.

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University of Geneva, Switzerland.


Twenty-seven female undergraduates completed three tasks: (1) feel four emotions (happiness, sadness, anger, peacefulness); (2) express these emotions, without trying to feel them; and (3) feel and express clearly these four emotions. During each trial subjects pressed a button to indicate when they had reached the required state, and the latency from emotion cue to button press was measured. Heart rate, skin conductance and EMG from four facial sites (brow, cheek, jaw and mouth) were recorded for 15 s before and after the button press and during a baseline period prior to each trial. Self-reports were obtained after each trial. Facial EMG and patterns of autonomic arousal differentiated among the four emotions within each task. Shorter self-generation latency in the Feel-and-Show versus the Feel condition indicated the facilitative effect of facial expression on the self-generation of emotion. Furthermore, the presence of autonomic changes and self-reported affect in the Show condition supports the sufficiency version of the facial feedback hypothesis. The self-generation method employed as an emotion elicitor was shown to reliably induce emotional reactions and is proposed as a useful technique for the elicitation of various emotional states in the laboratory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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