Postures, Gaze, and Action

James D. Laird

in Feelings

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780195098891
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893614 | DOI:

Series: Series in Affective Science

Postures, Gaze, and Action

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This chapter adds to the stockpile of research that fits the Jamesian, self-perception view of emotions. To the abundant research on facial expressions, discussed in Chapter 2, the current chapter adds postures, gaze, appearance, breathing patterns, tone of voice, and emotional actions. All these have been shown to be sufficient to influence emotional feelings, as self-perception theory would predict. We not only feel angry if we frown but also feel sad if we sit in a slumped posture or talk in a slow, low voice; loving if we exchange mutual gaze with another, touch, or exchange confidences; and afraid if we escape a potential threat. Many of these studies involved manipulations that are unlikely to have provided opportunities for experimenter bias. None have been directed at the “necessity” question, and indeed in most cases many other sorts of cues are normally available, so we would not expect postures, gaze, and so on to be necessary. Finally, none of this research looked at real-world situations, although it seems very plausible that in real life, gazing leads to loving; depressed postures lead to sadness; and expressions of anger lead to more, not less, anger.

Keywords: feelings; emotional behaviors; gazing; breathing; emotional actions; tone of voice; self-perception

Chapter.  7132 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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