Scientific article
Open access

Appraisals Generate Specific Configurations of Facial Muscle Movements in a Gambling Task: Evidence for the Component Process Model of Emotion

Published inPloS one, vol. 10, no. 8, e0135837
Publication date2015

Scherer's Component Process Model provides a theoretical framework for research on the production mechanism of emotion and facial emotional expression. The model predicts that appraisal results drive facial expressions, which unfold sequentially and cumulatively over time. In two experiments, we examined facial muscle activity changes (via facial electromyography recordings over the corrugator, cheek, and frontalis regions) in response to events in a gambling task. These events were experimentally manipulated feedback stimuli which presented simultaneous information directly affecting goal conduciveness (gambling outcome: win, loss, or break-even) and power appraisals (Experiment 1 and 2), as well as control appraisal (Experiment 2). We repeatedly found main effects of goal conduciveness (starting ~600 ms), and power appraisals (starting ~800 ms after feedback onset). Control appraisal main effects were inconclusive. Interaction effects of goal conduciveness and power appraisals were obtained in both experiments (Experiment 1: over the corrugator and cheek regions; Experiment 2: over the frontalis region) suggesting amplified goal conduciveness effects when power was high in contrast to invariant goal conduciveness effects when power was low. Also an interaction of goal conduciveness and control appraisals was found over the cheek region, showing differential goal conduciveness effects when control was high and invariant effects when control was low. These interaction effects suggest that the appraisal of having sufficient control or power affects facial responses towards gambling outcomes. The result pattern suggests that corrugator and frontalis regions are primarily related to cognitive operations that process motivational pertinence, whereas the cheek region would be more influenced by coping implications. Our results provide first evidence demonstrating that cognitive-evaluative mechanisms related to goal conduciveness, control, and power appraisals affect facial expressions dynamically over time, immediately after an event is perceived. In addition, our results provide further indications for the chronography of appraisal-driven facial movements and the underlying cognitive processes.

Citation (ISO format)
GENTSCH, Kornelia, GRANDJEAN, Didier Maurice, SCHERER, Klaus R. Appraisals Generate Specific Configurations of Facial Muscle Movements in a Gambling Task: Evidence for the Component Process Model of Emotion. In: PloS one, 2015, vol. 10, n° 8, p. e0135837. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0135837
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1932-6203

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