Compassionate faces: Evidence for distinctive facial expressions associated with specific prosocial motivations

Falconer, Caroline J.; Lobmaier, Janek S.; Christoforou, Marina; Kamboj, Sunjeev K.; King, John A.; Gilbert, Paul; Brewin, Chris R. (2019). Compassionate faces: Evidence for distinctive facial expressions associated with specific prosocial motivations. PLoS ONE, 14(1), e0210283. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0210283

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Compassion is a complex cognitive, emotional and behavioural process that has important real-world consequences for the self and others. Considering this, it is important to understand how compassion is communicated. The current research investigated the expression and perception of compassion via the face. We generated exemplar images of two compassionate facial expressions induced from two mental imagery tasks with different compassionate motivations (Study 1). Our kind- and empathic compassion faces were perceived differently and the empathic-compassion expression was perceived as best depicting the general definition of compassion (Study 2). Our two composite faces differed in their perceived happiness, kindness, sadness, fear and concern, which speak to their underling motivation and emotional resonance. Finally, both faces were accurately discriminated when presented along a compassion continuum (Study 3). Our results demonstrate two perceptually and functionally distinct facial expressions of compassion, with potentially different consequences for the suffering of others.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Psychology and Social Neuroscience

UniBE Contributor:

Lobmaier, Janek

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Janek Lobmaier

Date Deposited:

05 Feb 2019 15:37

Last Modified:

10 Feb 2019 02:41

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0210283

PubMed ID:

30673735

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.125435

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/125435

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