Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology

By Jon E. Roeckelein | Go to book overview

F

FACIAL FEEDBACK HYPOTHESIS. This hypothesis refers to the notion that emotional activity causes genetically programmed changes to occur in facial expression where the face subsequently provides cues (‘‘feedback’’) to the brain that help a person to determine what emotion is being felt. In other terms, the facial feedback hypothesis states that having facial expressions and becoming aware of them are what lead to an emotional experience. Indeed, according to the facial feedback hypothesis (Tomkins, 1962; Izard, 1990; Ekman, 1993), when people deliberately form various facial expressions, emotion-like changes occur in their bodily activity. Thus, ‘‘making faces’’ can actually cause emotion (Ekman, 1993). The idea that sensory feedback from one’s own facial expression can influence one’s emotional feeling suggests a possible mechanism through which emotional ‘‘contagion’’ can occur: people may automatically mimic the facial expressions of others, and then perhaps feedback from one’s own body alters the emotions to coincide with the expressions that are being mimicked. Recently, Hatfield, Cacioppo, and Rapson (1993) proposed this theory of primitive emotional contagion in which the mimicry of expressions does not involve higher cognitive processes. A considerable amount of research shows that people do automatically mimic the emotional expressions of others (e.g., Meltzoff & Moore, 1977; Davis, 1985; Reissland, 1988; Provine, 1992). The ability to synchronize emotions quickly with other people may have been an advantage in our evolution and may still be today, by helping to promote our acceptance of those around us. Perhaps overt facial expressions of emotion, coupled with an automatic tendency to mimic those expressions, came about in evolution partly to facilitate social acceptance (Gray, 1994). See also EKMAN–FRIESEN THEORY OF EMOTIONS; EMOTIONS, THEORIES OF; IZARD’S THEORY OF EMOTIONS.

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Dictionary of Theories, Laws, and Concepts in Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • A 1
  • B 64
  • C 87
  • D 128
  • E 154
  • F 180
  • G 199
  • H 224
  • I 250
  • J 273
  • K 279
  • L 286
  • M 317
  • N 338
  • O 349
  • P 356
  • Q 395
  • R 396
  • S 418
  • T 451
  • U 463
  • V 466
  • W 474
  • X 485
  • Y 486
  • Z 489
  • Appendix A 495
  • Appendix B 521
  • Selected Bibliography 527
  • Subject Index 529
  • About the Author 549
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