Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Joanna Schug

Committee Members

Matt Hilimire

Paul Manna


Current research has suggested that facial expressions may not only be the result of emotional experiences, but they may also play a role in shaping emotion itself. This idea, known as the Facial Feedback Hypothesis, has been supported in a number of various areas of psychology. The weak version of the hypothesis tested in this study suggests that facial feedback may intensify or inhibit an underlying emotion already present. One area of psychology untouched by the facial feedback hypothesis appears to be political evaluations. We hypothesized that activation of the zygomatic major muscle in the face (normally present when expressing happiness) when evaluating moderate political statements would correlate with higher levels of support and be viewed as more partisan congruent to a person’s political identity. Similarly, we hypothesized that activating the anguli oris muscle in the face (usually present when expressing anger) when evaluating bi-partisan statements would correlate with higher levels of disagreement and be viewed as less congruent to a participant’s partisan identity when judging these statements. Results indicated that opposite to our predictions, moderate statements are evaluated more favorably and more congruently to political identity in the frowning condition compared to the smiling condition, relative to pretests. Implications are discussed.

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Creative Commons License
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