Effects of posed smiling on memory for happy and sad facial expressions

Kuehne, Maria; Zaehle, Tino; Lobmaier, Janek S. (2021). Effects of posed smiling on memory for happy and sad facial expressions. Scientific reports, 11(1), p. 10477. Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-021-89828-7

Kuehne_2021_EffectsOfPosedSmilingOnMemoryForHappyAndSadFacialExpressions_SciRep.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (1MB) | Preview

The perception and storage of facial emotional expressions constitutes an important human skill that is essential for our daily social interactions. While previous research revealed that facial feedback can influence the perception of facial emotional expressions, it is unclear whether facial feedback also plays a role in memory processes of facial emotional expressions. In the present study we investigated the impact of facial feedback on the performance in emotional visual working memory (WM). For this purpose, 37 participants underwent a classical facial feedback manipulation (FFM) (holding a pen with the teeth—inducing a smiling expression vs. holding a pen with the non-dominant hand—as a control condition) while they performed a WM task on varying intensities of happy or sad facial expressions. Results show that the smiling manipulation improved memory performance selectively for happy faces, especially for highly ambiguous facial expressions. Furthermore, we found that in addition to an overall negative bias specifically for happy faces (i.e. happy faces are remembered as more negative than they initially were), FFM induced a positivity bias when memorizing emotional facial information (i.e. faces were remembered as being more positive than they actually were). Finally, our data demonstrate that men were affected more by FFM: during induced smiling men showed a larger positive bias than women did. These data demonstrate that facial feedback not only influences our perception but also systematically alters our memory of facial emotional expressions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Lobmaier, Janek


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




Springer Nature




Janek Lobmaier

Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2021 11:10

Last Modified:

18 Jul 2021 03:05

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:






Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback