Facial Feedback Hypothesis: Individual Differences in Attribution of Emotion Anne Valiando
Penn State Altoona
Previous research concerning the facial feedback hypothesis contends that manipulation of facial expression includes emotional arousal. The aim of the study was to determine if holding a pencil in the mouth in way that resembles a certain facial expressions effect humor ratings of cartoons rated by participants under one of three conditions. A sample of 172 participants was divided into three conditions in order to test the hypothesis. Results were found to be statistically significant with those in the teeth and control condition reporting a slightly higher rating than those who inhibited their smile (lips condition), supporting the hypothesis. The results did indicate a trend supporting the notions of the hypothesis, demonstrating that facilitated mechanisms may contribute to response. The findings of this study lend support to the facial feedback hypothesis and seem to be in accordance with prior research.
Facial Feedback Hypothesis: Individual Differences in Self-Attribution of Emotion
The Facial Feedback Hypothesis (FFH) is one of the several theories that examine how emotion functions. According to the FFH activation of facial muscles can influence a person’s emotions (Tourangeau & Ellsworth, 1979). The contracting muscles that are involved in the production of facial expressions such as smiling or frowning can make emotions more intense, even when one is unaware that they are modifying expression (Strack et al.1988). The premise of the FFH can be traced back to Charles Darwin (1872) and William James (1890). Darwin hypothesized that facial expression or suppression had the ability to influence the intensity of an emotional experience, whereas James (1890) believed that circulatory as well as muscular changes in the body could be the cause of an emotional experience. The FFH suggests that the human face not only expresses emotions but is also able to send feedback to the brain and modulate the ongoing emotional experience (Tompkins, 1981). The premise of the facial feedback hypothesis can be traced back to Charles Darwin and William James (Soussignan, 2002). Darwin (1872) hypothesized that certain facial expressions are instinctive and universal; however, in the relationship between facial expression and emotion the casual direction has been controversial. In addition to the two initial hypotheses regarding emotion Tompkins (1962) asserted that facial muscles were responsible for the creation of an emotional experience, the belief of muscle activation could directly influence a person’s emotion became known as the facial feedback hypothesis (FFH) (Tourangeau & Ellsworth, 1979). Due to the differing hypotheses about the relationship between facial expression and emotion, two specific models of the FFH have been formulated and tested. They seek to address the critical question regarding facial feedback, does the human face do more than just express emotions. The first model examines if expressing or suppressing facial expression can influence the intensity of an emotional experience. Researchers have designed studies asking participants to exaggerate or hide their emotional reactions to stimuli in form of odor (Kraut, 1982). In this study participants were presented odors that were both pleasant and unpleasant they were then instructed to make a facial expression in response to the odor presented even if it was unnatural. Kraut (1982) reported that regardless of natural tendencies, the participants’ evaluations of the odor matched their facial expression. Other research has examined whether certain muscle configurations can elicit the emotional response associated with them without any other stimulation involved, several studies have been conducted instructing participants to activate specific muscle groups without any emotionally...
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