[WilliamJames] facial feedback hypothesis

Max Shron max at shron.net
Fri Feb 28 09:21:34 CST 2014

Man, there are some clever people out there.

Strack, Martin & Stepper's test of the
Orbicularis oris muscle

In an attempt to provide a clear assessment of the theory that a purely
physical facial change, involving only certain facial muscles, can result
in an emotion, Strack, Martin, & Stepper (1988) devised a cover story that
would ensure the participants adopt the desired facial posing without being
able to perceive either the corresponding emotion or the researchers' real
motive. Told they were taking part in a study to determine the difficulty
for people without the use of their hands or arms to accomplish certain
tasks, participants held a pen in their mouth in one of three ways. The Lip
position would contract the orbicularis oris
resulting in a frown. The Teeth position would cause the zygomaticus
major<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygomaticus_major_muscle> or
the risorius muscle <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risorius_muscle>,
resulting in a smile. The control
group<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_group> would
hold the pen in their nondominant hand. All had to fill a questionnaire in
that position and rate the difficulty involved. The last task, which was
the real objective of the test, was the subjective rating of the funniness
of a cartoon. The test differed from previous methods in that there were no
emotional states to emulate, dissimulate or exaggerate. As predicted,
participants in the Teeth condition reported significantly higher amusement
ratings than those in the Lips condition. The cover story and the procedure
were found to be very successful at initiating the required contraction of
the muscles without arising suspicion, 'cognitive interpretation of the
facial action,[10]<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_feedback_hypothesis#cite_note-10>
avoiding significant demand <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demand_effect>
 and order effects<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Order_effects&action=edit&redlink=1>.
It has been suggested that more effort may be involved in holding a pen
with the lips compared with the
it has resolved many of the methodological issues associated with the
facial feedback hypothesis. Darwin's theory can be demonstrated, and the
moderate, yet significant effect of this theory of emotions opens the door
to new research on the "multiple and nonmutually exclusive plausible
the effects of facial activity on emotions.

Max Shron | Data Strategy

On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 10:20 PM, Eric Purdy <epurdy at uchicago.edu> wrote:

> Apparently Darwin and James had a theory that emotion is caused largely by
> the feeling of facial expressions. The theories are confirmed by recent
> experiments with artificially induced facial expressions and with people
> with reduced ability to produce facial expressions due to Botox.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Facial_feedback_hypothesis
> --
> -Eric
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> WilliamJames mailing list
> WilliamJames at moomers.org
> http://mailman.moomers.org/mailman/listinfo/williamjames
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