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Frans_Jozef
Saturday, January 8th, 2005, 02:28 PM
Voluntary facial expression and hemispheric asymmetry
over the frontal cortex

JAMES A. COAN,a JOHN J.B. ALLEN,a and EDDIE HARMON-JONESb
aDepartment of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
bDepartment of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

Abstract
Brain activity was monitored while 36 participants produced facial configurations denoting anger, disgust, fear, joy, and
sadness. EEG alpha power was analyzed during each facial pose, with facial conditions grouped according to the
approach0withdrawal motivational model of emotion. This model suggests that “approach” emotions are associated
with relatively greater left frontal brain activity whereas “withdrawal” emotions are associated with relatively greater
right frontal brain activity. In the context of a bilateral decrease in activation, facial poses of emotions in the withdrawal
condition resulted in relatively less left frontal activation in the lateral-frontal, midfrontal and frontal-temporal-central
region, but not in the parietal region, as predicted. Findings in the approach condition were less consistently supportive of predictions of the approach0withdrawal model. Implications for the approach0withdrawal model and for the emotion
eliciting potential of voluntary facial movement are discussed.

of predictions of the approach0withdrawal model. Implications for the approach withdrawal model and for the emotion
eliciting potential of voluntary facial movement are discussed.