Emotional Contagion, Imitative Responses and the Relationship Between These Responses From Subliminal to Supraliminal Levels of Information Processing

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Emotional Contagion, Imitative Responses and the Relationship Between These Responses From Subliminal to Supraliminal Levels of Information Processing

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Publication Conference Paper, peer reviewed
Title Emotional Contagion, Imitative Responses and the Relationship Between These Responses From Subliminal to Supraliminal Levels of Information Processing
Author(s) Sonnby-Borgström, Marianne ; Jönsson, Peter ; Svensson, Owe
Date 2007-08
English abstract
A "process-view" on emotional contagion and empathy was applied in the present design, a method that intended to combine theories based on biologically prepared emotional contagion with more cognitively grounded views. The first aim of the present study was to investigate if imitative facial responses and emotional contagion can be evoked as a result of automatic, unconscious processing or if these responses rely on conscious, interpretative processes. Further, the correspondence between the participants' degree of reported emotional contagion and the magnitude of their facial muscle responses was investigated. The third aim was to explore how increased involvement of conscious top-down processing influences facial responses, emotional contagion and the correlations between these responses. Processing of information from implicit, unconscious (17 ms) to conscious, top down (2500 ms) processing levels were induced by successively prolonged presentations of facial expressive stimuli. One hundred participants were exposed to masked pictures of happy, angry, and sad facial expressions. Facial responses (EMG) and emotional contagion (reported hedonic tone) were measured. Already at the subliminal exposure level emotional contagion and zygomaticus imitative responses were observed, as well as correlations between the participants' degree of emotional contagion and the magnitude of their facial zygomaticus responses. These results were interpreted as being in line with a spontaneous, automatic process involved in imitation and emotional contagion. The corrugator imitative responses were amplified with increased involvement of top-down processing, whereas the zygomaticus muscles showed an inverted response, smiling, towards angry faces at the supraliminal exposure. Correlations between the participants' magnitude of facial responses and their degree of emotional contagion were found at all exposure levels from subliminal to clearly supraliminal levels of exposure.
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/2043/4409 (link to this page)

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