Automatic and Effortful Facial Expression Mimicry and Dysphoric Mood
Kraft, Tara L.
University of Kansas
Copyright held by the author.
MetadataShow full item record
Clinical depression has been widely associated with difficulty building and maintaining healthy social relationships (e.g., Lewinsohn, Mischel, Chaplin, & Barton, 1980; Libet & Lewinsohn, 1973; Segrin, 2000). Although many factors contribute to the development of positive social relationships, successful mimicry of others' facial expressions plays a key role in developing rapport and intimacy with others (Izard, 1989; Keltner & Haidt, 1999, Manstead, 1991), and multiple studies have noted important deficits for adults and children with depression in the ability to accurately mimic positive facial expressions (e.g., Lautzenhiser, 2003; Sloan, Bradley, Dimoulas, & Lang, 2002; Wexler, Levenson, Warrenburg, & Price, 1993). To date, published data has noted clear deficits in automatic facial expression mimicry in this population but has not examined effortful mimicry. The current study aimed to fill this gap in the literature by examining both automatic and effortful facial expression mimicry in individuals reporting dysphoria, a mild form of clinical depression. One hundred thirty-six participants were shown a series of happy, sad, and neutral faces, while electromyography (EMG) recorded automatic muscle response in the corrugator supercilii, zygomaticus major, and orbicularis oculi facial muscles. To assess effortful mimicry, participants were shown the series of images again with explicit instruction to mimic the faces appearing on the screen, while EMG again recorded effortful muscle responses. Associations between dysphoria and automatic and effortful facial expression mimicry were examined. Additionally, change in positive and negative emotions throughout the study, associations between facial expression mimicry and self-reported social functioning, and recognition of images presented in the study were also examined. Results indicated that high dysphoric mood was associated with deficits in automatic and effortful mimicry of happy, sad, and neutral facial expressions. Inaccurate automatic and effortful mimicry of faces was also associated with lower self-reported social support and greater loneliness. Results are discussed in light of current efforts to improve depressive symptoms via social skills training.
- Dissertations 
- Psychology Dissertations and Theses 
Items in KU ScholarWorks are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
We want to hear from you! Please share your stories about how Open Access to this item benefits YOU.