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Pupil dilation reflects the authenticity of received nonverbal vocalizations

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posted on 2021-02-16, 14:19 authored by Gonçalo Cosme, Pedro J Rosa, César F Lima, Vânia Tavares, Sophie Scott, Sinead Chen, Thom WilcocksonThom Wilcockson, Trevor J Crawford, Diana Prata
AbstractThe ability to infer the authenticity of other’s emotional expressions is a social cognitive process taking place in all human interactions. Although the neurocognitive correlates of authenticity recognition have been probed, its potential recruitment of the peripheral autonomic nervous system is not known. In this work, we asked participants to rate the authenticity of authentic and acted laughs and cries, while simultaneously recording their pupil size, taken as proxy of cognitive effort and arousal. We report, for the first time, that acted laughs elicited higher pupil dilation than authentic ones and, reversely, authentic cries elicited higher pupil dilation than acted ones. We tentatively suggest the lack of authenticity in others’ laughs elicits increased pupil dilation through demanding higher cognitive effort; and that, reversely, authenticity in cries increases pupil dilation, through eliciting higher emotional arousal. We also show authentic vocalizations and laughs (i.e. main effects of authenticity and emotion) to be perceived as more authentic, arousing and contagious than acted vocalizations and cries, respectively. In conclusion, we show new evidence that the recognition of emotional authenticity can be manifested at the level of the autonomic nervous system in humans. Notwithstanding, given its novelty, further independent research is warranted to ascertain its psychological meaning.

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

Scientific Reports

Volume

11

Issue

1

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

2021-01-27

Publication date

2021-02-12

Copyright date

2021

eISSN

2045-2322

Language

  • en

Depositor

Dr Thom Wilcockson. Deposit date: 16 February 2021

Article number

3733

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