Facial Mimicry

Humans have the ability to cover up, or “mask,” their emotions by consciously suppressing facial expressions. One experiment attempted to observe unconscious facial reactions of participants to avoid emotional masking. They accomplished this by presenting pictures of emotional reactions for only a fraction of a second, preventing the participants from consciously processing the pictures. The results found that participants would unconsciously contort their faces to mimic emotional reactions, despite not being able to consciously process the pictures. This suggests that “both positive and negative emotional reactions can be unconsciously evoked” and “important aspects of emotional face-to-face communication can occur on an unconscious level.”