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Emotion. 2007 Feb;7(1):113-130. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.7.1.113.

Are facial expressions of emotion produced by categorical affect programs or dynamically driven by appraisal?

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Department of Psychology, Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva.
Department of Psychology, University of Wurzburg.


The different assumptions made by discrete and componential emotion theories about the nature of the facial expression of emotion and the underlying mechanisms are reviewed. Explicit and implicit predictions are derived from each model. It is argued that experimental expression-production paradigms rather than recognition studies are required to critically test these differential predictions. Data from a large-scale actor portrayal study are reported to demonstrate the utility of this approach. The frequencies with which 12 professional actors use major facial muscle actions individually and in combination to express 14 major emotions show little evidence for emotion-specific prototypical affect programs. Rather, the results encourage empirical investigation of componential emotion model predictions of dynamic configurations of appraisal-driven adaptive facial actions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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