The effect of facial feedback on the evaluation of statements describing everyday situations and the role of awareness

Kaiser, Jakob and Davey, Graham C L (2017) The effect of facial feedback on the evaluation of statements describing everyday situations and the role of awareness. Consciousness and Cognition, 53. pp. 23-30. ISSN 1053-8100

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Abstract

According to theories of embodiment enacting a smile or a frown can positively or negatively influence one’s evaluations, even without awareness of one’s facial activity. While some previous studies found evidence for facial feedback effects, recent replication attempts could not confirm these findings. Are our decisions throughout the day amenable to the state of our facial muscles? We tested the effect of smiling and frowning on the evaluation of emotional sentences describing everyday situations. While most previous studies based their assessment of awareness on verbal debriefing interviews without explicitly defined criteria, we employed a written debriefing questionnaire in order to avoid potential bias when identifying participants’ awareness. Our results indicate that smiling/frowning increased/decreased sentence ratings only for participants aware of their expressions. This emphasizes the importance of more rigorous awareness tests in facial feedback studies. Our results support the view that facial feedback cannot necessarily influence us without conscious mediation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Ellena Adams
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2017 13:15
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2017 13:22
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/69124

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