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PsychSim 5: Expressing Emotion


Mizani Washburn

Name: __________________________________________ Date: __________________________________________

Section: ________________________

In this activity you will learn about the role of facial expressions in the nonverbal communication of emotion. Primary Affects What emotions are generally considered primary affects? How do they relate to facial expressions? Happiness, sadness, surprise, fear, anger, and disgust are all primary affects. When
an emotion is experienced, a neural program sends messages to the face, causing certain muscles to contract and others to relax. These movements produce a characteristic facial expression lasting anywhere from a fraction of a second to several seconds.

The Facial Code Using the table below, describe the characteristic positions of the eyebrows, eyes, and mouth for each of the six primary affects.

Eyebrows 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

The eyes are opened wide , with the upper eyelid raised and the lower eyelid pulled down.

The jaw drops, but the lips are relaxed

The eyebrows are raised and curved

The eyebrows are raised with the inner corners of the brows drawn together, short horizontal wrinkles on the forehead.


The eyes are opened wide, with the upper eyelid raised and the lower eyelid tense and slightly raised. The upper eyelid is lowered

The mouth is opened but tense, with the corners of the lips drawn back slightly

The eyebrows are lowered.

Anger Happiness

The brows are lowered and drawn together so that vertical wrinkles often appear between the brows.
The brows and forehead are relaxed.
The inner corners of the eyebrows are raised, producing wavy horizontal wrinkles on the forehead.

The upper lip is raised, and while the lower eyelid is raised the lower lip is also raised and slightly, reducing the amount pressed against the upper lip. of the eye that is visible. The lips are pressed rmly Both eyelids are tense, together or are opened in a producing a hard stare. tense, square shape

The cheeks are raised, producing small wrinkles below the lower eyelids.

The corners of the lips are drawn back and slightly up, and a wrinkle runs from each side of the nose to the corner of the lips.


The inner corners of the upper eyelids are raised, producing an inverted-V wrinkle in the upper eyelid.

The corners of the lips are often turned down and/or the lips may be trembling.

How does the expression of disgust differ from the other primary affects?
Disgust, unlike the other primary affects, involves the nose, which is wrinkled.

PsychSim 5: Expressing Emotion


Emotional Blends What are emotional blends? How do people generally express them?
An emotional blend is a combination of the facial codes associated with the experienced emotions. If the codes specify conicting positions for the eyebrows and lips, usually people display one emotion in the upper region of the face and the other in the lower.

Masking Emotion How are people able to mask emotions?

Depending on the number of facial muscles involved in the facial expression and the complexity of their movements, it may take a second or more for the facial expression to be fully formed. This means that other signals could interrupt or short-circuit the facial expression, allowing some individuals to compose themselves and show a poker face even in the midst of powerful emotional experiences. Older children and adults have also learned how to put on false facial expressions in social settings, such as an insincere smile when the individual doesnt genuinely feel happy. However, the true emotion is often displayed on the face for an instant before the masking expression is composed.