SATO Wataru Laboratory

Facial expression arousal level modulates facial mimicry

(Fujimura, Sato, & Suzuki: Int J Psychophysiol)

We investigated the effect of facial expression arousal level and mode of presentation on facial mimicry.
High- and low-arousal facial expressions indicating pleasant and unpleasant emotions were presented both statically and dynamically.
Participants' facial electromyographic (EMG) reactions were recorded from the zygomatic major and corrugator supercilii muscles.

Stronger zygomatic major muscle activity was evoked for high- compared to low-arousal pleasant expressions.
Comparable activity was induced in the corrugator supercilii muscle in response to both high- and low-arousal unpleasant expressions, and this was true for both dynamic and static presentation.

These results suggest that the arousal levels of pleasant, but not unpleasant, facial expressions can enhance facial mimicry.

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