Psychologists’ interest in facial expressions arose from the long-standing belief that, just as our dreams were Freud’s royal road to the unconscious, our smiles, frowns, pouts, grimaces, and other faces are the royal road to our emotions. The phrase “facial expression” is a presupposition that some event inside, typically an emotion, is pushed outside for public consumption. To avoid any such presupposition, facial behavior is used here to describe the movements and positioning of the facial muscles. Likewise, emitter and observer are used to avoid implying that any “content” is necessarily transferred by the face.
Human facial behavior results from a set of roughly 20 muscles. Except for the masseter, which clenches the jaw, these muscles originate on the bones of the face but insert in the skin, where they act as tractors, dilators, or sphincters that modify the orifices formed by the eyes,...
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