Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2015

Advisor

Benjamin Faber, Psychology; Michael Livingston, Psychology

Abstract

This study explored whether an actor taking a physical pose, normally associated with a specific emotion, affected the emotional state of an actor and whether this state was observable as well as transferable to an observer in an empathic fashion. The study consisted of 53 students from CSB/SJU obtained through convenience sampling. Dyads of the participants where observed who alternated in the roles of actors, who took on a posture normally associated with an emotion, and observers, who watched the pose taken by the actor. There were two conditions. One denoting confidence and one denoting sadness. Actors had their faces covered with neutral masks, and the observers watched the actors take on poses. Deception was used so as to keep the effects unconscious to the participants. Surveys were distributed before and after the postures to assess the change in emotion of both members of each dyad. The sadness condition revealed a significant mean difference in emotional change among women who were acting, t(16) = 2.38, p < .05. The confidence condition revealed a significant mean difference in emotional change among men who were observing, t(9) = 2.59, p < .05. Lastly, the identification of emotion revealed a significant result among all participants, X2(1, N = 53) = 13.76, p < .001.

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Psychology Commons

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