Recent application of theories of embodied or grounded cognition to the recognition and interpretation of facial expression of emotion has led to an explosion of research in psychology and the neurosciences. However, despite the accelerating number of reported findings, it remains unclear how the many component processes of emotion and their neural mechanisms actually support embodied simulation. Equally unclear is what triggers the use of embodied simulation versus perceptual or conceptual strategies in determining meaning. The present article integrates behavioral research (...) from social psychology with recent research in neurosciences in order to provide coherence to the extant and future research on this topic. The roles of several of the brain's reward systems, and the amygdala, somatosensory cortices, and motor centers are examined. These are then linked to behavioral and brain research on facial mimicry and eye gaze. Articulation of the mediators and moderators of facial mimicry and gaze are particularly useful in guiding interpretation of relevant findings from neurosciences. Finally, a model of the processing of the smile, the most complex of the facial expressions, is presented as a means to illustrate how to advance the application of theories of embodied cognition in the study of facial expression of emotion. (shrink)
This comment on Smith and van Dijk’s discussion of the antecedents and consequences of schadenfreude and gluckschmerz considers these emotions in an appraisal framework and discusses the usefulness of naming emotions that do not come with ready-made labels in many languages.
ABSTRACTThe present research tested the notion that emotion expression and context perception are bidirectionally related. Specifically, in two studies focusing on moral violations and positive moral deviations respectively, we presented participants with short vignettes describing behaviours that were either moral, polite or unusual together with a picture of the emotional reaction of a person who supposedly had been a witness to the event. Participants rated both the emotional reactions observed and their own moral appraisal of the situation described. In both (...) studies, we found that situational context influenced how emotional reactions to this context were rated and in turn, the emotional expression shown in reaction to a situation influenced the appraisal of the situation. That is, neither the moral events nor the emotion expressions were judged in an absolute fashion. Rather, the perception of one also depended on the other. (shrink)
As intergenerational interactions increase due to an ageing population, the study of emotion-related responses to the elderly is increasingly relevant. Previous research found mixed results regarding affective mimicry – a measure related to liking and affiliation. In the current study, we investigated emotional mimicry to younger and older actors following an encounter with a younger and older player in a Cyberball game. In a complete exclusion condition, in which both younger and older players excluded the participant, we expected emotional mimicry (...) to be stronger for younger vs. older actors. In a partial inclusion condition, in which the younger player excluded while the older player included the participant, we predicted that the difference in player behaviour would lead to a difference in liking. This increased liking of the older interaction partner should reduce the difference in emotional mimicry towards the two different age groups. Results revealed more mimicry for older actors following partial inclusion especially for negative emotions, suggesting inclusive behaviour by an older person in an interaction as a possible means to increase mimicry and affiliation to the elderly. (shrink)
Moral foundation theory posits that specific moral transgressions elicit specific moral emotions. To test this claim, participants were asked to rate their emotions in response to moral violation vignettes. We found that compassion and disgust were associated with care and purity respectively as predicted by moral foundation theory. However, anger, rage, contempt, resentment and fear were not associated to any single moral transgression. Thus, even though the type of moral violation matters for the type of emotion that is elicited, the (...) link between moral foundations and moral emotions seems more complex than moral foundation theory suggests. Rather, the findings suggest that there are both emotion-specific foundations and emotion-unspecific foundations. (shrink)
ABSTRACTFacial mimicry has long been considered a main mechanism underlying emotional contagion. A closer look at the empirical evidence, however, reveals that although these two phenomena often co-occur, the changes in emotional expressions may not necessarily be causally linked to the changes in subjective emotional experience. Here, we directly investigate this link, by testing a model in which facial activity served as a mediator between the observed emotional displays and subsequently felt emotions. Participants watched videos of different senders displaying happiness, (...) anger, or sadness, while their facial activity was recorded. After each video, participants rated their own emotions and assessed the senders’ likeability and competence. Participants both mimicked and reported feeling the emotions displayed by the senders. Moreover, their facial activity partially explained the association between the senders’ emotional displays... (shrink)
Niedenthal et al. discuss the importance of eye gaze in embodied simulation and, more globally, in the processing of emotional visual stimulation (such as facial expression). In this commentary, we illustrate the relationship between oriented eye movements, consciousness, and emotion by using the case of severely brain-injured patients recovering from coma (i.e., vegetative and minimally conscious patients).
The set of 30 stimulating commentaries on our target article helps to define the areas of our initial position that should be reiterated or else made clearer and, more importantly, the ways in which moderators of and extensions to the SIMS can be imagined. In our response, we divide the areas of discussion into (1) a clarification of our meaning of (2) a consideration of our proposed categories of smiles, (3) a reminder about the role of top-down processes in the (...) interpretation of smile meaning in SIMS, (4) an evaluation of the role of eye contact in the interpretation of facial expression of emotion, and (5) an assessment of the possible moderators of the core SIMS model. We end with an appreciation of the proposed extensions to the model, and note that the future of research on the problem of the smile appears to us to be assured. (shrink)
Research on the relationship between context and facial expressions generally assumes a unidirectional effect of context on expressions. However, according to the model of the meaning of emotion expressions in context the effect should be bidirectional. The present research tested the effect of emotion expression on the interpretation of scenes. A total of 380 participants either rated facial expressions with regard to the likely appraisal of the eliciting situation by the emoter, appraised the scenes alone or appraised scenes shown together (...) with the expressions they supposedly elicited. The findings strongly supported the MEEC. When a scene was combined with an expression signalling a situation that is undesirable, or high in locus of control or sudden, the participants appraised the scene correspondingly. Thus, the meaning of scenes is malleable and affected by the way that people are seen to react to them. (shrink)