chapter  15
18 Pages

Body language: Embodied perception of emotion

ByCharlotte B. A. Sinke,, Mariska E. Kret,and Beatrice de Gelder,

In everyday life, we are continuously confronted with other people. How they behave and move around has a direct inµuence on us whether we are aware of it or not. In communication, we are generally focused on the face. For this reason, emotion research in the past has focused on faces. Also, facial expressions seem to have universal consistency. However, bodily expressions are just as well recognized as facial expressions, they can be seen from a distance, and are from an evolutionary perspective much older. Body language therefore has a high communicative role albeit we are less aware of it. Models on facial expression processing might also work for understanding bodily expressions. Similar brain regions seem to get activated for both, but although faces show the mental states of people, body postures in addition show an action intention. Therefore, seeing bodies additionally activates motion areas.