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Modulation of facial muscle responses by another person’s presence and affiliative touch during affective image viewing

Wingenbach, T. S. H. ORCID:, Ribeiro, B., Nakao, C. and Boggio, P. S. ORCID: (2023) Modulation of facial muscle responses by another person’s presence and affiliative touch during affective image viewing. Cognition and Emotion. ISSN 1464-0600

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2023.2258588


Stimulating CT-afferents by forearm caresses produces the subjective experience of pleasantness in the receiver and modulates subjective evaluations of viewed affective images. Receiving touch from another person includes the social element of another person’s presence, which has been found to influence affective image evaluations without involving touch. The current study investigated whether these modulations translate to facial muscle responses associated with positive and negative affect across touch-involving and mere presence conditions. Female participants (N = 40, M(age) = 22.4, SD = 5.3) watched affective images (neutral, positive, negative) while facial electromyography was recorded (sites: zygomaticus, corrugator). Results from ANOVAs showed that providing touch to another person or oneself modulated zygomaticus site responses when viewing positive images. Providing CT-afferent stimulating touch (i.e., forearm caresses) to another person or oneself dampened the positive affective facial muscle response to positive affective images. Providing touch to another person generally increased corrugator facial muscle activity related to negative affect. Receiving touch did not modulate affective facial muscle responses during the viewing of affective images but may have effects on later cognitive processes. Together, previously reported social and touch modulations of subjective evaluations of affective images do not translate to facial muscle responses during affective image viewing, which were differentially modulated.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
ID Code:114383
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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