Duchenne smile, emotional experience, and autonomic reactivity: a test of the facial feedback hypothesis

Emotion. 2002 Mar;2(1):52-74. doi: 10.1037/1528-3542.2.1.52.


This study examined the modulatory function of Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles on subjective and autonomic components of emotion. Participants were asked to hold a pencil in their mouth to either facilitate or inhibit smiles and were not instructed to contract specific muscles. Five conditions--namely lips pressing, low-level non-Duchenne smiling, high-level non-Duchenne smiling, Duchenne smiling, and control--were produced while participants watched videoclips that were evocative of positive or negative affect. Participants who displayed Duchenne smiles reported more positive experience when pleasant scenes and humorous cartoons were presented. Furthermore, they tended to exhibit different patterns of autonomic arousal when viewing positive scenes. These results support thefacial feedback hypothesis and suggest that facial feedback has more powerful effects when facial configurations represent valid analogs of basic emotional expressions.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Emotions*
  • Facial Expression*
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Smiling*
  • Social Behavior*