Age-invariance in the asymmetry of stimulus-evoked emotional facial muscle activity

S. L. Reminger, A. W. Kaszniak, P. R. Dalby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined possible effects of aging on the lateralization of stimulus-evoked emotional facial muscle activity. Older participants (mean age 68.4 years) and younger participants (mean age 26.4 years) viewed slides of positive, neutral, or negative emotional content. While participants viewed the slides, bilateral electromyographic (EMG) recordings were obtained from the skin surface over zygomatic and corrugator facial muscles. The participants also made ratings of experienced emotional valence and arousal. Expected patterns of subjective experience and asymmetrical EMG activity were found in response to target stimuli. Greater corrugator muscle activity occurred during presentation of negative stimuli, whereas greater zygomatic muscle activity occurred during presentation of positive stimuli. Consistent with right-hemisphere specialization theories of emotion, left-sided facial EMG activity was consistently greater than that of the right side during presentation of emotional stimuli. However, neither subjective ratings nor EMG patterns showed a significant effect of age group. Such similar patterns of emotional response for the two groups suggest, that the aging process does not produce marked changes in stimulus-evoked emotional experience or in the pattern, magnitude, or lateralization of facial muscle activity associated with emotional states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-168
Number of pages13
JournalAging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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