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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

Observed pupil size impacts on social evaluations. (A) The woman on the left is judged positive and attractive, and the one on the right with small pupils, as cold and distant. Picture is taken from Hess (1975). (B) A partner with dilating pupils is better trusted than a partner with static or constricting pupils, especially when the participant (on the left) synchronizes his own pupil size with the observed partner. Visual representation of the experimental setup of the study by Kret et al. (2015).
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Figure 3: Observed pupil size impacts on social evaluations. (A) The woman on the left is judged positive and attractive, and the one on the right with small pupils, as cold and distant. Picture is taken from Hess (1975). (B) A partner with dilating pupils is better trusted than a partner with static or constricting pupils, especially when the participant (on the left) synchronizes his own pupil size with the observed partner. Visual representation of the experimental setup of the study by Kret et al. (2015).

Mentions: Hess (1975) was the first to recognize the social potential of pupil dilation. In one study, he presented a group of men a series of pictures of which two showed an attractive young woman. One of them had been retouched to make the woman’s pupils larger and the other smaller than the original version. Interestingly, participant’s pupil response to the picture with the large pupils was larger than to the one with small pupils. Despite being unaware of the manipulation, participants liked the woman with the large pupils better, describing her as “more feminine,” “prettier,” and “softer” than the woman with small pupils (Hess, 1975; Figure 3A). In order to control for possible effects of luminance, in a later study, Hess created schematic eyes that consisted of a circle with a small, medium or large black dot in the middle. The circles were presented in isolation, in pairs with equally sized black dots, or with three of those in a row. Participants observed these stimuli whilst their pupil size was measured. Hess observed that both male and female participants showed the greatest pupil response to the ‘eye-like’ pair with the large black dot in the middle, an effect that could not be explained by luminance (Hess, 1975).


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

Kret ME - Front Psychol (2015)

Observed pupil size impacts on social evaluations. (A) The woman on the left is judged positive and attractive, and the one on the right with small pupils, as cold and distant. Picture is taken from Hess (1975). (B) A partner with dilating pupils is better trusted than a partner with static or constricting pupils, especially when the participant (on the left) synchronizes his own pupil size with the observed partner. Visual representation of the experimental setup of the study by Kret et al. (2015).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Observed pupil size impacts on social evaluations. (A) The woman on the left is judged positive and attractive, and the one on the right with small pupils, as cold and distant. Picture is taken from Hess (1975). (B) A partner with dilating pupils is better trusted than a partner with static or constricting pupils, especially when the participant (on the left) synchronizes his own pupil size with the observed partner. Visual representation of the experimental setup of the study by Kret et al. (2015).
Mentions: Hess (1975) was the first to recognize the social potential of pupil dilation. In one study, he presented a group of men a series of pictures of which two showed an attractive young woman. One of them had been retouched to make the woman’s pupils larger and the other smaller than the original version. Interestingly, participant’s pupil response to the picture with the large pupils was larger than to the one with small pupils. Despite being unaware of the manipulation, participants liked the woman with the large pupils better, describing her as “more feminine,” “prettier,” and “softer” than the woman with small pupils (Hess, 1975; Figure 3A). In order to control for possible effects of luminance, in a later study, Hess created schematic eyes that consisted of a circle with a small, medium or large black dot in the middle. The circles were presented in isolation, in pairs with equally sized black dots, or with three of those in a row. Participants observed these stimuli whilst their pupil size was measured. Hess observed that both male and female participants showed the greatest pupil response to the ‘eye-like’ pair with the large black dot in the middle, an effect that could not be explained by luminance (Hess, 1975).

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