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Emotion. 2011 Oct;11(5):1235-41. doi: 10.1037/a0023469.

Seeing yourself helps you see others.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1285 Franz Hall, Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1563, USA.


It has been proposed that self-face representations are involved in interpreting facial emotions of others. We experimentally primed participants' self-face representations. In Study 1, we assessed eye tracking patterns and performance on a facial emotion discrimination task, and in Study 2, we assessed emotion ratings between self and nonself groups. Results show that experimental priming of self-face representations increases visual exploration of faces, facilitates the speed of facial expression processing, and increases the emotional distance between expressions. These findings suggest that the ability to interpret facial expressions of others is intimately associated with the representations we have of our own faces.

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