Do dynamic compared to static facial expressions of happiness and anger reveal enhanced facial mimicry?

Krystyna Rymarczyk , Łukasz Żurawski , Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda , Iwona Szatkowska


Facial mimicry is the spontaneous response to others’ facial expressions by mirroring or matching the interaction partner. Recent evidence suggested that mimicry may not be only an automatic reaction but could be dependent on many factors, including social context, type of task in which the participant is engaged, or stimulus properties (dynamic vs static presentation). In the present study, we investigated the impact of dynamic facial expression and sex differences on facial mimicry and judgment of emotional intensity. Electromyography recordings were recorded from the corrugator supercilii, zygomaticus major, and orbicularis oculi muscles during passive observation of static and dynamic images of happiness and anger. The ratings of the emotional intensity of facial expressions were also analysed. As predicted, dynamic expressions were rated as more intense than static ones. Compared to static images, dynamic displays of happiness also evoked stronger activity in the zygomaticus major and orbicularis oculi, suggesting that subjects experienced positive emotion. No muscles showed mimicry activity in response to angry faces. Moreover, we found that women exhibited greater zygomaticus major muscle activity in response to dynamic happiness stimuli than static stimuli. Our data support the hypothesis that people mimic positive emotions and confirm the importance of dynamic stimuli in some emotional processing.

Author Krystyna Rymarczyk
Krystyna Rymarczyk,,
, Łukasz Żurawski
Łukasz Żurawski,,
, Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda (Wydział Psychologii)
Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Iwona Szatkowska
Iwona Szatkowska,,
Journal seriesPlos One, ISSN 1932-6203, (A 35 pkt)
Issue year2016
Publication size in sheets0.7
Keywords in EnglishElectromyography, Imitation, Happiness, Emotions, Face, Neuroimaging, Dynamic response, Reaction dynamics
ASJC Classification1100 General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; 1300 General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; 2700 General Medicine
Languageen angielski
journal.pone.0158534.PDF 353.56 KB
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20160914_141307.jpg 1.03 MB
Score (nominal)40
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 1.101; WoS Impact Factor: 2016 = 2.806 (2) - 2016=3.394 (5)
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