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The effect of anger and pleasure on facial blood flow

Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 (1994) The effect of anger and pleasure on facial blood flow. Australian Journal of Psychology. Special Issue: Research in psychophysiology, 46 (2). pp. 95-99.

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Changes in forehead and cheek blood flow were monitored in 46 subjects during difficult mental arithmetic, to investigate the effect of anger and pleasure on vascular activity in the face. Subjects were able to earn 5c for each correct answer, although a computer program ensured that subjects did not solve 50% of the mental arithmetic problems. Halfway through the task, subjects either received a bonus of $5, lost $5 from their earnings, or were told to relax quietly. Ratings of anger increased over the course of the task, and ratings of pleasure or amusement increased transiently in subjects who received the bonus. Facial blood flow increased at the onset of mental arithmetic, and cheek blood flow increased after the bonus and after further mental arithmetic. The findings support the popular notion that the face “flushes with joy”. A stronger experimental manipulation is required to determine whether the face “flushes with rage”, although the increase in cheek blood flow toward the end of the mental arithmetic task is consistent with this view.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
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