Both an imagery task in which past emotional experiences are relived and a directed facial action task in which subjects are requested to produce specific patterns of facial muscular actions will be used to explore (1) emotion-specific ANS activity and (2) how voluntary facial movements can produce ANS activity. One set of studies will determine whether ANS activity generated by voluntary facial movement requires visual feedback on one's own or antoher's expressions and the cognitive labels that may be instigated, or proprioceptive feedback from the facial muscles. Another set of experiments will determine whether emotion-specific ANS activity is preserved when emotion intensity varies, two emotions occur simultaneously, and two emotions occur sequentially. Evidence of emotion-specific ANS patterning would be relevant to emotion-related illnesses, including the affect-flooded psychological disorders such as depression, and the physical disorders that involve ANS organ systems and have been linked to emotion (e.g., hypertension--anger). The findings could be useful in diagnosing such disorders, understanding their etiology and maintenance, and tracking therapeutic improvement.
|Ekman, P (1993) Facial expression and emotion. Am Psychol 48:384-92|
|Levenson, R W; Ekman, P; Heider, K et al. (1992) Emotion and autonomic nervous system activity in the Minangkabau of west Sumatra. J Pers Soc Psychol 62:972-88|
|Levenson, R W; Ekman, P; Friesen, W V (1990) Voluntary facial action generates emotion-specific autonomic nervous system activity. Psychophysiology 27:363-84|