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Facial expressions of emotion reveal neuroendocrine and cardiovascular stress responses.
Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jan 15; 61(2):253-60.BP

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The classic conception of stress involves undifferentiated negative affect and corresponding biological reactivity. The present study hypothesized a new conception, disaggregating stress into emotion-specific, contrasting patterns of biological response. Specifically, it hypothesized contrasting patterns for indignation (comprised of anger and disgust) versus fear. Moreover, it hypothesized that facial expressions of these emotions would signal corresponding biological stress responses.

METHODS

Ninety-two adults engaged in annoyingly difficult stress-challenge tasks, during which cardiovascular responses, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis responses (i.e., cortisol), emotional expressions (i.e., facial muscle movements), and subjective emotional experience were assessed.

RESULTS

Pronounced individual differences emerged in specific emotional responses to the stressors. Analyses of facial expressions revealed that the more fear individuals displayed in response to the stressors, the higher their cardiovascular and cortisol responses to stress. By contrast, the more indignation individuals displayed in response to the same stressors the lower their cortisol levels and cardiovascular responses.

CONCLUSIONS

Facial expressions of emotion signal biological responses to stress. Fear expressions signal elevated cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity; indignation signals attenuated cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity, patterns that implicate individual differences in stress appraisals. Rather than conceptualizing stress as generalized negative affect, studies can be informed by this emotion-specific approach to stress responses.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Social & Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. jlerner@cmu.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

17150197

Citation

Lerner, Jennifer S., et al. "Facial Expressions of Emotion Reveal Neuroendocrine and Cardiovascular Stress Responses." Biological Psychiatry, vol. 61, no. 2, 2007, pp. 253-60.
Lerner JS, Dahl RE, Hariri AR, et al. Facial expressions of emotion reveal neuroendocrine and cardiovascular stress responses. Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(2):253-60.
Lerner, J. S., Dahl, R. E., Hariri, A. R., & Taylor, S. E. (2007). Facial expressions of emotion reveal neuroendocrine and cardiovascular stress responses. Biological Psychiatry, 61(2), 253-60.
Lerner JS, et al. Facial Expressions of Emotion Reveal Neuroendocrine and Cardiovascular Stress Responses. Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jan 15;61(2):253-60. PubMed PMID: 17150197.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Facial expressions of emotion reveal neuroendocrine and cardiovascular stress responses. AU - Lerner,Jennifer S, AU - Dahl,Ronald E, AU - Hariri,Ahmad R, AU - Taylor,Shelley E, Y1 - 2006/12/05/ PY - 2006/06/29/received PY - 2006/08/16/accepted PY - 2006/12/8/pubmed PY - 2007/3/16/medline PY - 2006/12/8/entrez SP - 253 EP - 60 JF - Biological psychiatry JO - Biol Psychiatry VL - 61 IS - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: The classic conception of stress involves undifferentiated negative affect and corresponding biological reactivity. The present study hypothesized a new conception, disaggregating stress into emotion-specific, contrasting patterns of biological response. Specifically, it hypothesized contrasting patterns for indignation (comprised of anger and disgust) versus fear. Moreover, it hypothesized that facial expressions of these emotions would signal corresponding biological stress responses. METHODS: Ninety-two adults engaged in annoyingly difficult stress-challenge tasks, during which cardiovascular responses, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis responses (i.e., cortisol), emotional expressions (i.e., facial muscle movements), and subjective emotional experience were assessed. RESULTS: Pronounced individual differences emerged in specific emotional responses to the stressors. Analyses of facial expressions revealed that the more fear individuals displayed in response to the stressors, the higher their cardiovascular and cortisol responses to stress. By contrast, the more indignation individuals displayed in response to the same stressors the lower their cortisol levels and cardiovascular responses. CONCLUSIONS: Facial expressions of emotion signal biological responses to stress. Fear expressions signal elevated cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity; indignation signals attenuated cortisol and cardiovascular reactivity, patterns that implicate individual differences in stress appraisals. Rather than conceptualizing stress as generalized negative affect, studies can be informed by this emotion-specific approach to stress responses. SN - 0006-3223 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/17150197/Facial_expressions_of_emotion_reveal_neuroendocrine_and_cardiovascular_stress_responses_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0006-3223(06)01061-4 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -