Happy Enough to Relax? How Positive and Negative Emotions Activate Different Muscular Regions in the Back - an Explorative Study

  • Embodiment theories have proposed a reciprocal relationship between emotional state and bodily reactions. Besides large body postures, recent studies have found emotions to affect rather subtle bodily expressions, such as slumped or upright sitting posture. This study investigated back muscle activity as an indication of an effect of positive and negative emotions on the sitting position. The electromyography (EMG) activity of six back muscles was recorded in 31 healthy subjects during exposure to positive and negative affective pictures. A resting period was used as a control condition. Increased muscle activity patterns in the back were found during the exposure to negative emotional stimuli, which was mainly measured in the lumbar and thorax regions. The positive emotion condition caused no elevated activity. The findings show that negative emotions lead to increased differential muscle activity in the back and thus corroborate those of previous research that emotion affects subtle bodily expressions.

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Author:Clara Scheer, Simone Kubowitsch, Sebastian DendorferORCiD, Petra Jansen
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher:Frontiers Media
Document Type:Article
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2021/06/01
Tag:electromyography; embodiment; emotion; happiness; muscle activity; sadness
Volume:Volume 12
Issue:May 2021
Article Number:Article 511746
Institutes:Fakultät Maschinenbau
Regensburg Center of Biomedical Engineering - RCBE
Fakultät Maschinenbau / Labor Biomechanik (LBM)
OpenAccess Publikationsweg:Gold Open Access- Erstveröffentlichung in einem/als Open-Access-Medium
research focus:Lebenswissenschaften und Ethik
Licence (German):Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International
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