New Facial Expression of Emotion? purports that new research suggests that there is a facial expression for anxiety.

Published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the study focused on the facial expression of the emotion of anxiety and claims to have found the facial characteristics that are connected to the display of that emotion.

The research, conducted by the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s College London, was not clear if they were going to try to conduct additional research to see if this could be considered a universal facial expression.  It is clear though that further research needs to to be undertaken before any concrete assertions are confirmed.

What are your thoughts on a facial expression for anxiety?

Lead author of the study Dr. Adam Perkins affirms that many animal studies link anxiety to risk assessment behavior, suggesting anxiety can be explained as a defensive adaptation. We wanted to see if this was also the case in humans.’

In the study facial expression images were correctly matched in 89% of emotive scenario presentations on average. The facial expression generated in response to an ambiguous threat scenario was correctly matched to ambiguously threatening scenarios in 90% of scenario presentations.

The IoP researchers delineated scenarios that elicited standard emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, disgust and surprise to a group of participants.  Then they described scenarios containing ambiguous threats, which are known to elicit risk assessment and anxiety in rodents.

The study’s findings seemed a bit vague.  They suggest that, “anxious facial expression appears to have both functional and social components – its characteristics help assess our surrounding environment, and communicate to others our emotional state.” However, that same definition can be said of the seven universal facial expressions of emotion along with specified FACS characteristics.

What do the researchers feel are the immediate benefits of this study?

Well, Dr. Perkins states, “We hope our findings will in due course help doctors more effectively diagnose anxiety in their patients.  We also think the findings may also help security personnel identify individuals engaged in wrongdoing by means of their anxious, risk assessing facial expression.”

To see  short facial expression video click here and scroll down.


3 responses to “New Facial Expression of Emotion?”

  1. Chris says:

    Do you have some picture of that one? Tx in advance^^

  2. You should take a look at this article, which shows some pictures:

  3. […] research and scientific inquiry before reaching a conclusion.UPDATE: Humintell has posted some thoughts on the paper.A Facial Expression for Anxiety? / Social Exploits by Mike Murr is licensed under a Creative […]

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