A multi-lab test of the facial feedback hypothesis by The Many Smiles Collaboration

Nicholas A. Coles, David S. March, Fernando Marmolejo-Ramos, Hassan Banaruee, Natalie Butcher, Mikael Cavallet, Nikolay Dagaev, Daniel Eaves, Francesco Foroni, Elena Gorbunova, Pascal Gygax, José Antonio Hinojosa Poveda, Ayumi Ayumi Ikeda, Omid Kathin-Zadeh, Asil Ali Özdoğru, Michal Parzuchowski, Susana Ruiz-Fernández, Bidisha Som, Isabel Suarez, Natalia TrujilloSandra Trujillo, Tim van der Zee, Cristina Villalba-García, Megan Willis, Yuki Yamada, Phoebe Ellsworth, Lowell Gaertner, Fritz Strack, Marco Tullio Liuzza, Marco Marozzi

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Following theories of emotional embodiment, the facial feedback hypothesis suggests that an individual’s subjective experience of emotion is influenced by their facial expressions. Evidence for this hypothesis, however, has been mixed. We formed a global adversarial collaboration designed to specify and test the conditions that should most reliably produce facial feedback effects. Data from 3,878 hypothesis-unaware participants from 19 countries indicated that a facial mimicry and voluntary facial action task could both amplify and initiate feelings of happiness. Evidence, however, was less conclusive when unobtrusively manipulating facial feedback via a pen-in-mouth task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1731–1742
Number of pages15
JournalNature Human Behaviour
Early online date20 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


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