Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 101–117 | Cite as

Sad and Lonely? Sad Mood Suppresses Facial Mimicry

  • Katja U. Likowski
  • Peter WeyersEmail author
  • Beate Seibt
  • Christiane Stöhr
  • Paul Pauli
  • Andreas Mühlberger
Original Paper


The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence of happy and sad mood on facial muscular reactions to emotional facial expressions. Following film clips intended to induce happy and sad mood states, participants observed faces with happy, sad, angry, and neutral expressions while their facial muscular reactions were recorded electromyografically. Results revealed that after watching the happy clip participants showed congruent facial reactions to all emotional expressions, whereas watching the sad clip led to a general reduction of facial muscular reactions. Results are discussed with respect to the information processing style underlying the lack of mimicry in a sad mood state and also with respect to the consequences for social interactions and for embodiment theories.


Mood state Facial emotional expression Facial mimicry Information processing EMG 



The research was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG WE2930/2-1) and a Postdoc-grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to the third author (SE 1121/3-1).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katja U. Likowski
    • 1
  • Peter Weyers
    • 1
    Email author
  • Beate Seibt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christiane Stöhr
    • 1
  • Paul Pauli
    • 1
  • Andreas Mühlberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Biological Psychology, Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyJulius-Maximilians-University WürzburgWürzburgGermany
  2. 2.The Centro de Investigação e Intervenção Social (CIS)ISCTELisbonPortugal

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