Facial expressions as performances in mime

Cognition and Emotion 32 (3):494-503 (2017)
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Abstract

That facial expressions are universal emotion signals has been supported by observers agreeing on the emotion mimed by actors. We show that actors can mime a diverse range of states: emotions, cognitions, physical states, and actions. English, Hindi, and Malayalam speakers viewed 25 video clips and indicated the state conveyed. Within each language, at least 23 of the 25 clips were recognised above chance and base rate. Facial expressions of emotions are not special in their recognisability, and it is miming that may be the universal human ability.

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James Russell
Trent University

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