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Facial Muscle Patterning And Subjective Experience During Affective Imagery: Sex Differences.

G. Schwartz, S. L. Brown, G. L. Ahern
Published 1980 · Psychology, Medicine

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Facial electromyographic (EMG) activity was recorded from the zygomatic, corrugator, masse-ter and frontalis muscle regions in 30 male and 30 female subjects. Forty-eight items were selected to reflect happy, sad, angry and fearful situations. Subjects imagined each of the items for 40 sec and rated how they felt on a scale tapping the four emotions. The results indicated that for certain emotions, muscle regions and ratings, females (as compared to males): 1) generated facial EMG patterns of greater magnitude (relative to rest) during affective imagery, 2) reported a stronger experience of emotion to the imagery, 3) showed greater within-subject correlations between the experience of emotions and facial EMG, 4) evidenced somewhat higher corrugator and significantly lower masseter EMG activity during rest, and 5) generated greater facial EMG changes during a post-imagery, voluntary facial expression condition. Cultural and biological interpretations of the data are considered. The importance of evaluating gender in psychophysiological studies of emotion is stressed.
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