Differential states of subjective power influence spontaneous facial mimicry.
Monday, Oct 15, 2012, 10:00 AM -11:00 AM
*E. W. CARR
, P. WINKIELMAN, C. OVEIS;
UCSD, LA JOLLA, CA
Subjective power involves the feeling of being able to control or influence the actions of others. Evidence from psychology and neuroscience has also identified behavioral mimicry as an index for interpersonal affiliation and rapport. Yet, research into how different levels of subjective power directly impact mimicry behavior is surprisingly limited. We used facial electromyography (fEMG) to measure motor unit action potentials (MUAPs) from two muscles in the face: zygomaticus major (“smiling muscle” that brings up the corners of the mouth) and corrugator supercilii (“frowning muscle” that furrows the brow). To examine mimicry behavior, subjects watched dynamic videos after completing a writing prime to induce feelings of high- or low-power. Videos were of happy and angry expressions for 4 different FACS-coded models that were randomly assigned to high- and low-status jobs. We measured fEMG response at 500ms intervals across 80 5-second video trials and used linear mixed models (REML) for repeated measures analyses. Zygomaticus analysis showed a significant 3-way interaction, where control participants showed standard mimicry with more zygomaticus activity to happy videos; however, high-power subjects mimicked low-status models more, and showed a reversed mimicry pattern for high-status models compared to other conditions, p<0.05. Low-power subjects did the opposite, where they seemed to reverse mimic low-status models, although this pattern did not reach significance, p=n.s. Data from the zygomaticus also revealed that reactivity unfolded differently across the 5000ms trials in a significant condition*status*time 3-way interaction, p<0.05. Corrugator evaluation showed a main effect of valence, where all participants reacted with more mimicry (more corrugator response to angry videos), p<0.01. This was qualified by a subordinate significant 2-way interaction that showed more mimicry occurred to high-status models across all conditions, p<0.05. Therefore, we have shown that (1) feelings of high- and low-power lead to distinct changes in spontaneous facial mimicry (and these changes are different between high- and low-power states), and (2) these effects are impacted by the perceived status of the mimicry target. Correspondingly, the present research establishes a relationship between power and mimicry. The results suggest that subjective states of high-power and low-power can have fundamental impacts on emotional awareness and perception, which are evident in nonverbal behaviors such as mimicry. The current study spurs interesting and immediately applicable questions for research in emotion, relationships, and social hierarchies.
[Authors]. [Abstract Title]. Program No. XXX.XX. 2012 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. New Orleans, LA: Society for Neuroscience, 2012. Online.
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