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

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

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Publication Article, peer reviewed scientific
Title Gender Differences in Facial Imitation and Verbally Reported Emotional Contagion from Spontaneous to Emotionally Regulated Processing Levels
Author(s) Sonnby-Borgström, Marianne ; Jönsson, Peter ; Svensson, Owe
Date 2008
English abstract
Previous studies on gender differences in facial imitation and verbally reported emotional contagion have investigated emotional responses to pictures of facial expressions at supraliminal exposure times. The aim of the present study was to investigate how 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 verbally reported emotional contagion and facial responses for men and women. Masked pictures of angry, happy and sad facial expressions were presented to 102 participants (51 men) at exposure times from subliminal (23 ms) to clearly supraliminal (2500 ms). Myoelectric activity (EMG) from the corrugator and the zygomaticus was measured and the participants reported their hedonic tone (verbally reported emotional contagion) after stimulus exposures. The results showed an effect of exposure time on gender differences in facial responses as well as in verbally reported emotional contagion. Women amplified imitative responses towards happy vs. angry faces and verbally reported emotional contagion with prolonged exposure times, whereas men did not. No gender differences were detected at the subliminal or borderliminal exposure times, but at the supraliminal exposure gender differences were found in imitation as well as in verbally reported emotional contagion. Women showed correspondence between their facial responses and their verbally reported emotional contagion 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.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9450.2008.00626.x (link to publisher's fulltext)
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Host/Issue Scandinavian Journal of Psychology;2
Volume 49
Pages 111-122
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) gender differences
facial imitation
emotional contagion
empathy
emotion regulation
Medicine
Research Subject Categories::INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH AREAS::Gender studies
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology::Cognitive science
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/6394 (link to this page)

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