In this experiment, we replicated the effect of muscle engagement on perception such that the recognition of another’s facial expressions was biased by the observer’s facial muscular activity (Blaesi & Wilson, 2010). We extended this replication to show that such a modulatory effect is also observed for the recognition of dynamic bodily expressions. Via a multilab and within-subjects approach, we investigated the emotion recognition of point-light biological walkers, along with that of morphed face stimuli, while subjects were or were not holding a pen in their teeth. Under the “pen-in-the-teeth” condition, participants tended to lower their threshold of perception of happy expressions in facial stimuli compared to the “no-pen” condition, thus replicating the experiment by Blaesi and Wilson (2010). A similar effect was found for the biological motion stimuli such that participants lowered their threshold to perceive happy walkers in the pen-in-the-teeth condition compared to the no-pen condition. This pattern of results was also found in a second experiment in which the no-pen condition was replaced by a situation in which participants held a pen in their lips (“pen-in-lips” condition). These results suggested that facial muscular activity alters the recognition of not only facial expressions but also bodily expressions.
This blog reports new ideas and work on mind, brain, behavior, psychology, and politics - as well as random curious stuff
Friday, October 16, 2020
Want to feel better? Make a fake smile by holding a pencil in your teeth.
Neat work by Marmolejo-Ramos et al in Experimental Psychology, Research subjects who forced their facial muscles to replicate the movement of a smile by holding a pen between their teeth altered their perception to see the world in a more positive way, and to have a lower threshold for the perception of happy expression in facial stimuli. This correlated with changes in activity of the amygdala, an emotion regulation center in the brain. I pass on their abstract (motivated readers can obtain the whole article by emailing me):
Posted by Deric Bownds at 12:00 AM
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