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The face of interest

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Abstract

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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I wish to extend my gratitude to the codirectors of the Center for Research on the Effects of Television (CRETV), Cyndy Schiebe of Ithaca College and John Condry of Cornell University, for allowing me use of videotapes from the CRETV archives that served as experimental stimuli in the present set of studies. I also extend my gratitude to associate editor Condry, Glen Nix, Ed Deci, and two anonymous reviewers for their insightful and constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

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Reeve, J. The face of interest. Motiv Emot 17, 353–375 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00992325

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