chapter  11
22 Pages

Asymmetries of Facial Action: Some Facts and Fancies of Normal Face Movement

We are not generally aware that the smiles, the frowns, the expressions of greeting of disdain that constitute the "rapid signs" (Ekman, Friesen, & Ellsworth, 1972) of face language are notably asymmetric. In contrast, we can, and do, observe unimanual behavior to be consistently asymmetric and design tools to accommodate the right handed user. Therefore, the first question to be asked must be: Are face action asymmetries real? In particular, is one side of the face consistently used in nonverbal expression, and is this side generally one and the same for the population as a whole? That is, are face actions asymmetric in a directionally consistent way, as are manual asymmetries? If this can be established, a host of questions follow. What psychological significance would such actions carry? On what are they based? Why are they not more noticeable?