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Emotional expressions beyond facial muscle actions. A call for studying autonomic signals and their impact on social perception.

Kret ME - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: However, the fact that emotions are not just expressed by facial muscles alone is often still ignored in emotion perception research.Specifically, I will focus on the perception of implicit sources such as gaze and tears and autonomic responses such as pupil-dilation, eyeblinks and blushing that are subtle yet visible to observers and because they can hardly be controlled or regulated by the sender, provide important "veridical" information.I will here review this literature and suggest avenues for future research that will eventually lead to a better comprehension of how these signals help in making social judgments and understand each other's emotions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Brain and Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands ; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Humans are well adapted to quickly recognize and adequately respond to another's emotions. Different theories propose that mimicry of emotional expressions (facial or otherwise) mechanistically underlies, or at least facilitates, these swift adaptive reactions. When people unconsciously mimic their interaction partner's expressions of emotion, they come to feel reflections of those companions' emotions, which in turn influence the observer's own emotional and empathic behavior. The majority of research has focused on facial actions as expressions of emotion. However, the fact that emotions are not just expressed by facial muscles alone is often still ignored in emotion perception research. In this article, I therefore argue for a broader exploration of emotion signals from sources beyond the face muscles that are more automatic and difficult to control. Specifically, I will focus on the perception of implicit sources such as gaze and tears and autonomic responses such as pupil-dilation, eyeblinks and blushing that are subtle yet visible to observers and because they can hardly be controlled or regulated by the sender, provide important "veridical" information. Recently, more research is emerging about the mimicry of these subtle affective signals including pupil-mimicry. I will here review this literature and suggest avenues for future research that will eventually lead to a better comprehension of how these signals help in making social judgments and understand each other's emotions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Expressing anger. The face on the right is reddened (except for the eyes and teeth) and shows drops of sweat. How these expressions of autonomic arousal impact on the perception of the emotional facial expression is not known.
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Figure 2: Expressing anger. The face on the right is reddened (except for the eyes and teeth) and shows drops of sweat. How these expressions of autonomic arousal impact on the perception of the emotional facial expression is not known.

Mentions: In addition to facial actions, there are other ways for the face to reveal emotions than via its muscle movements. When highly emotional, our forehead may show sweat drops, our cheeks may blush, our eyes may tear and our pupils may dilate. All these automatic and autonomic reactions are not specific for one particular emotion and may also occur when in pain or during sport. Importantly, they may also happen during an emotional experience, and because they are much harder to control than our facial muscles, and are visible to others, they might add to the perceived intensity of a facial expression or even overrule the emotion signal the facial muscles try to reveal. Not much is known about how these autonomic reactions or signals impact on emotion perception and whether they can modulate or even change the perception of facial expressions, and provide a context. For example, it is possible that a person with an angry, reddened face and sweat pearls on his forehead is perceived as more intensely angry than a person without these signs of arousal. See Figure 2.


Emotional expressions beyond facial muscle actions. A call for studying autonomic signals and their impact on social perception.

Kret ME - Front Psychol (2015)

Expressing anger. The face on the right is reddened (except for the eyes and teeth) and shows drops of sweat. How these expressions of autonomic arousal impact on the perception of the emotional facial expression is not known.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4443639&req=5

Figure 2: Expressing anger. The face on the right is reddened (except for the eyes and teeth) and shows drops of sweat. How these expressions of autonomic arousal impact on the perception of the emotional facial expression is not known.
Mentions: In addition to facial actions, there are other ways for the face to reveal emotions than via its muscle movements. When highly emotional, our forehead may show sweat drops, our cheeks may blush, our eyes may tear and our pupils may dilate. All these automatic and autonomic reactions are not specific for one particular emotion and may also occur when in pain or during sport. Importantly, they may also happen during an emotional experience, and because they are much harder to control than our facial muscles, and are visible to others, they might add to the perceived intensity of a facial expression or even overrule the emotion signal the facial muscles try to reveal. Not much is known about how these autonomic reactions or signals impact on emotion perception and whether they can modulate or even change the perception of facial expressions, and provide a context. For example, it is possible that a person with an angry, reddened face and sweat pearls on his forehead is perceived as more intensely angry than a person without these signs of arousal. See Figure 2.

Bottom Line: However, the fact that emotions are not just expressed by facial muscles alone is often still ignored in emotion perception research.Specifically, I will focus on the perception of implicit sources such as gaze and tears and autonomic responses such as pupil-dilation, eyeblinks and blushing that are subtle yet visible to observers and because they can hardly be controlled or regulated by the sender, provide important "veridical" information.I will here review this literature and suggest avenues for future research that will eventually lead to a better comprehension of how these signals help in making social judgments and understand each other's emotions.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Brain and Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam Amsterdam, Netherlands ; Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Center Amsterdam, Netherlands.

ABSTRACT
Humans are well adapted to quickly recognize and adequately respond to another's emotions. Different theories propose that mimicry of emotional expressions (facial or otherwise) mechanistically underlies, or at least facilitates, these swift adaptive reactions. When people unconsciously mimic their interaction partner's expressions of emotion, they come to feel reflections of those companions' emotions, which in turn influence the observer's own emotional and empathic behavior. The majority of research has focused on facial actions as expressions of emotion. However, the fact that emotions are not just expressed by facial muscles alone is often still ignored in emotion perception research. In this article, I therefore argue for a broader exploration of emotion signals from sources beyond the face muscles that are more automatic and difficult to control. Specifically, I will focus on the perception of implicit sources such as gaze and tears and autonomic responses such as pupil-dilation, eyeblinks and blushing that are subtle yet visible to observers and because they can hardly be controlled or regulated by the sender, provide important "veridical" information. Recently, more research is emerging about the mimicry of these subtle affective signals including pupil-mimicry. I will here review this literature and suggest avenues for future research that will eventually lead to a better comprehension of how these signals help in making social judgments and understand each other's emotions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus