Specific forms of facial EMG response index emotions during an interview: from Darwin to the continuous flow hypothesis affect-laden information processing. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous research has demonstrated that mild negative emotional imagery and unpleasant sensory stimuli lead to greater electromyographic activity over the brow muscle region than mild positive imagery and stimuli, even in the absence of significant changes in visceral and general facial EMG activity. Previous research has not addressed whether electromyographic responses over the brow region are a sensitive and specific index of emotions, however, since a multiplicity of events lead to changes in brow activity. In this research, facial electromyographic and audiovisual recordings were obtained while individuals were interviewed about themselves. Afterwards, individuals were asked to describe what they had been thinking of during specific segments of the interview marked by distinctive electromyographic responses over the brow region in the context of ongoing but stable levels of activity elsewhere in the face. The results are interpreted in terms of a continuous flow hypothesis of affect-laden information processing.

published proceedings

  • J Pers Soc Psychol

author list (cited authors)

  • Cacioppo, J. T., Martzke, J. S., Petty, R. E., & Tassinary, L. G.

citation count

  • 141

complete list of authors

  • Cacioppo, JT||Martzke, JS||Petty, RE||Tassinary, LG

publication date

  • April 1988