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Embodying Emotion

Paula M. Niedenthal
Science
New Series, Vol. 316, No. 5827 (May 18, 2007), pp. 1002-1005
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20036277
Page Count: 4
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Abstract

Recent theories of embodied cognition suggest new ways to look at how we process emotional information. The theories suggest that perceiving and thinking about emotion involve perceptual, somatovisceral, and motoric reexperiencing (collectively referred to as "embodiment") of the relevant emotion in one's self. The embodiment of emotion, when induced in human participants by manipulations of facial expression and posture in the laboratory, causally affects how emotional information is processed. Congruence between the recipient's bodily expression of emotion and the sender's emotional tone of language, for instance, facilitates comprehension of the communication, whereas incongruence can impair comprehension. Taken all together, recent findings provide a scientific account of the familiar contention that "when you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you."

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