Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 353–375 | Cite as

The face of interest

  • Johnmarshall Reeve


The present paper explores the validity of 16 facial movements (e.g., eyelid widening, lips part) and two psychophysiological responses (e.g., heart rate) as interest-associated behaviors. In a pilot study we selected interesting and uninteresting stimuli, and in two experiments we asked undergraduate volunteers to watch and listen to a series of 4-min film clips and self-report their level of interest. As each participant viewed the films, we videotaped, coded, and scored his or her facial movements and recorded the autonomic responses. Using repeated-measure ANOVAs and correlational analyses, we found support for five upper facial behaviors (eyes closed, number of eye glances, duration of eye glances, eyelid widening, exposed eyeball surface), one lower facial behavior (lips part), and two general head movements (head turns, head stillness) as interest-associated facial movements. The discussion focuses on how these findings confirm, contradict, and clarify the observations of others (e.g., Darwin, Tomkins, Izard).


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johnmarshall Reeve
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational Psychology, School of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukee

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