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Brain Cogn. 2013 Jul;82(2):219-27. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2013.03.001. Epub 2013 Apr 4.

Emotion regulation through execution, observation, and imagery of emotional movements.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. tshafir1@univ.haifa.ac.il

Abstract

According to Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis, emotions are generated by conveying the current state of the body to the brain through interoceptive and proprioceptive afferent input. The resulting brain activation patterns represent unconscious emotions and correlate with subjective feelings. This proposition implies a corollary that the deliberate control of motor behavior could regulate feelings. We tested this possibility, hypothesizing that engaging in movements associated with a certain emotion would enhance that emotion and/or the corresponding valence. Furthermore, because motor imagery and observation are thought to activate the same mirror-neuron network engaged during motor execution, they might also activate the same emotional processing circuits, leading to similar emotional effects. Therefore, we measured the effects of motor execution, motor imagery and observation of whole-body dynamic expressions of emotions (happiness, sadness, fear) on affective state. All three tasks enhanced the corresponding affective state, indicating their potential to regulate emotions.

PMID:
23561915
PMCID:
PMC4067484
DOI:
10.1016/j.bandc.2013.03.001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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