zygomatic muscle, neutral faces, neutral objects, faces, objects, facial EMG, EMG


Biological Psychology


The present study examined the significance of viewing images of neutral faces versus images of neutral objects on zygomatic muscle activity using facial EMG. Participants (60% women) from a pool of introductory psychology courses had their facial EMG recordings measured in response to images of neutral faces and neutral objects. Participants’ valence rating of each image was also recorded using the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) in order to rate their emotional response to each image. The primary hypothesis was that participants would have greater activity in the zygomatic muscle region when presented with images of neutral faces as opposed to lessor activity when presented with images of neutral objects. It was also hypothesized that if participants preferred seeing images of faces as compared to objects, their positive feelings would produce higher SAM ratings. Results from the present study indicated images of neutral faces showed no significant difference in EMG activity compared to images of neutral objects. Self-report data also showed no significant difference in pleasantness or emotional valence between ratings of neutral faces and ratings of neutral objects.