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THE EFFECT OF PEN HOLDING CONDITIONS ON THE HUMOUR RATING OF FUNNY CARTOONS ABSTRACT Previous research concerning the facial feedback hypothesis contends that manipulation of facial expression induces emotional arousal. The aim of the experiment was to determine whether holding a pen in the mouth in way that resembles certain facial expression effect humour rating of cartoons rated by participants under one of three conditions. A sample of 60 naïve second year students from Monash University was divided into the three treatment conditions to test the hypothesis. There were two separate hypotheses to be tested. Results were not statistically significant and alternative hypotheses were not supported however, results did indicate a trend supporting the notions of the hypotheses. Implications of this study show that there are trends to support the facial feedback hypothesis however, inconclusively. Future research should be undertaken to effectively ascertain the validity of the facial feedback hypothesis, an extension of the James – Lange theory of emotion. The James – Lange theory suggests that there are three stages related to the experience of an emotion. The first stage is the physiological response to the stimuli mediated by the autonomic nervous system and can include increased heart beat, sweat forming on the palms and similar symptoms. Following the physiological response is the emotional or cognitive aspect of actually realising the emotion which is then followed by the behavioural aspect which denotes what is actually done in response to the stimulus, for example running away. (Buck, 1980, p.811) The facial feedback hypothesis is an extension of the James – Lange theory of emotion and contends that emotions are the result of physiological input rather than physiological reactions being the result of experienced emotions. According to the theory, feedback is taken from muscle activity in the body and is then interpreted by the brain and translated into the feeling of various emotions. For example, rather than a smile being elicited from a feeling of happiness, the facial feedback hypothesis suggests that it is the smile which has caused the feeling of happiness. (Dalton, 2000, p.60) In the past there has been research carried out to test the validity of the facial feedback hypothesis. Laird (1974, cited in Strack, Martin & Stepper. 198... ... middle of paper ... ...tional responses. Consequently, it is important that further research be undertaken to replicate past research and improve the ability to generalize results to the given population. REFERENCES Buck, R. (1980). Nonverbal behavior and the theory of emotion: The facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 38, 811-824 Izard, C. E. (1990). The Substrates and Functions of Emotion Feelings: William James and Current Emotion Theory. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 16, 626-635 Larsen, R. J. (1992). Facilitating the Furrowed Brow: An Unobtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis Applied to Unpleasant Affect. Journal of cognition and emotion, 6, 321-338 Strack, F., Martin, L., Stepper, S. (1988). Inhibiting and Facilitating Conditions of the Human Smile: A Nonobtrusive Test of the Facial Feedback Hypothesis. Journal of personality and social psychology, 54, 768-777 Dalton, T. (2000). The developmental roots of consciousness and emotional experience. Consciousness & Emotion, 1, 55-89 Winton, W. (1986). The role of facial response in self-reports of emotion: A critique of Laird. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 50, 808-812


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