Gender Differences in Facial Imitation and Emotional Contagion from Spontaneous to Emotionally Regulated Processing Levels

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Gender Differences in Facial Imitation and Emotional Contagion from Spontaneous to Emotionally Regulated Processing Levels

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Gender Differences in Facial Imitation and Emotional Contagion from Spontaneous to Emotionally Regulated Processing Levels
Author(s) Sonnby-Borgström, Marianne ; Jönsson, Peter ; Svensson, Owe
Date 2007-08
English abstract
Previous studies on gender differences in facial imitation and emotional contagion have investigated emotional responses towards facial stimuli at supraliminal exposure times. The aim of the present study was to investigate how these gender differences are related to different exposure times, representing information processing levels from subliminal (spontaneous) to supraliminal (emotionally regulated). Further, the study aimed at exploring correlations between emotional contagion and facial responses for men and women. Masked pictures of angry, happy and sad faces were presented to 102 participants (51 men) at exposure times from subliminal (17 ms) to clearly supraliminal (2500 ms). Electromyographic activity (EMG) from the corrugator and the zygomaticus was measured and the participants reported their hedonic tone (emotional contagion) after stimulus exposures. The results showed an effect of exposure time on gender differences in facial responses as well as in emotional contagion. Women amplified imitative responses towards happy vs. angry faces and amplified their emotional contagion with prolonged exposures, whereas men did not. Only women displayed imitative responses, when all exposure times were included in the analysis. No gender differences were detected at the subliminal or borderliminal exposures, but at the supraliminal exposure gender differences were found in imitation as well as in emotional contagion. Women showed correlations between their facial responses and their reported hedonic tone to a greater extent than men. The results were interpreted in terms of gender differences in emotion regulation, rather than as differences in biologically prepared emotional reactivity.
Pages Ninth Nordic Meeting in Neuropsychology, 19-22 Augusti 2007
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Medicine
Research Subject Categories::MEDICINE
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/4408 (link to this page)

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