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The instinctual basis of human affect: Affective imaging of laughter and crying

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The goal of this study was to evaluate affective changes induced during mental imaging of instinctual action patterns. Subjects were first trained to simulate the bodily rhythms of laughter and crying and were then trained to image these processes without any movement. The mere imagination of the motor imagery of laughter and crying were sufficient to significantly facilitate happy and sad mood ratings as monitored by subjective self-report. In contrast, no changes in mood were reported while imaging the affectively neutral task of walking. The work suggests that motor imagery is sufficient to modify emotional feelings, suggesting the feasibility of this method for brain imaging of emotional processes.
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Keywords: affect; crying; emotional actions; instinct; laughter

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: J. P. Scott Center for Neuroscience 2: Bowling Green State University

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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