A Multi-Lab Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis by the Many Smiles Collaboration
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.
Coles, N.A., March, D.S., Marmolejo-Ramos, F. et al. A multi-lab test of the facial feedback hypothesis by the Many Smiles Collaboration. Nat Hum Behav 6, 1731-1742 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-022-01458-9