A Multi-Lab Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis by the Many Smiles Collaboration


John F. Hunter, Chapman UniversityFollow
Nicholas A. Coles, Stanford University
David S. March, Florida State University
Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, University of South Australia
Jeff T. Larsen, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Nwadiogo C. Arinze, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike
Izuchukwu L. G. Ndukaihe, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike
Megan L. Willis, Australian Catholic University
Francesco Foroni, Australian Catholic University
Niv Reggev, Ben-Gurion University
Aviv Mokady, Ben-Gurion University
Patrick S. Forscher, Busara Center for Behavioral Economics
John F. Hunter, Chapman UniversityFollow
Gwenaël Kaminski, Université de Toulouse
Elif Yüvrük, Ege University
Aycan Kapucu, Ege University
Tamás Nagy, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Nandor Hajdu, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Julian Tejada, Federal University of Sergipe
Raquel M. K. Freitag, Federal University of Sergipe
Danilo Zambrano, Fundación para el Avance de la Psicología
Bidisha Som, Indian Institute of Technology
Balazs Aczel, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Krystian Barzykowski, Jagiellonian University
Sylwia Adamus, Jagiellonian University
Katarzyna Filip, Jagiellonian University
Yuki Yamada, Kyushu University
Ayumi Ikeda, Kyushu University
Daniel L. Eaves, Newcastle University
Carmel A. Levitan, Occidental College
Sydney Leiweke, Occidental College
Michal Parzuchowski, SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities
Natalie Butcher, Teesside University
Gerit Pfuhl, UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Dana M. Basnight-Brown, United States International University—Africa
José A. Hinojosa, Universidad Complutense
Pedro R. Montoro, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
Lady G. Javela D, Universidad del Rosario
Kevin Vezirian, Université Grenoble Alpes
Hans IJzerman, Université Grenoble Alpes
Natalia Trujillo, University of Antioquia-UDE
Sarah D. Pressman, University of California, Irvine
Pascal M. Gygax, University of Fribourg
Asil A. Özdoğru, Üsküdar University
Susana Ruiz-Fernandez, FOM University of Applied Sciences
Phoebe C. Ellsworth, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Lowell Gaertner, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Fritz Strack, University of Würzburg
Marco Marozzi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Marco Tullio Liuzza, ‘Magna Graecia’ University of Catanzaro

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Following theories of emotional embodiment, the facial feedback hypothesis suggests that individuals’ subjective experiences of emotion are influenced by their facial expressions. However, evidence for this hypothesis has been mixed. We thus formed a global adversarial collaboration and carried out a preregistered, multicentre study designed to specify and test the conditions that should most reliably produce facial feedback effects. Data from n = 3,878 participants spanning 19 countries indicated that a facial mimicry and voluntary facial action task could both amplify and initiate feelings of happiness. However, evidence of facial feedback effects was less conclusive when facial feedback was manipulated unobtrusively via a pen-in-mouth task.


This article was originally published in Nature Human Behavior, volume 6, in 2022. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01458-9

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