Emotional experience and perception in the absence of facial feedback

Academic Article


  • The facial feedback hypothesis suggests that facial expressions are either necessary or sufficient to produce emotional experience. Researchers have noted that the ideal test of the necessity aspect of this hypothesis would be an evaluation of emotional experience in a patient suffering from a bilateral facial paralysis; however, this condition is rare and no such report has been documented. We examined the role of facial expressions in the determination of emotion by studying a patient (F.P.) suffering from a bilateral facial paralysis. Despite her inability to convey emotions through facial expressions, F.P. reported normal emotional experience. When F.P. viewed emotionally evocative slides her reactions were not dampened relative to the normative sample. F.P. retained her ability to detect, discriminate, and image emotional expressions. These findings are not consistent with theories stating that feedback from an active face is necessary to experience emotion, or to process emotional facial expressions.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 12462546
  • Author List

  • Keillor JM; Barrett AM; Crucian GP; Kortenkamp S; Heilman KM
  • Start Page

  • 130
  • End Page

  • 135
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 1