Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Jeff T. Larsen

Committee Members

Lowell Gaertner, Michael Olson, Dana Berkowitz


The facial feedback hypothesis suggests that an individual’s experience of emotion is influenced by their facial expressions. Researchers, however, currently face conflicting narratives about whether this hypothesis is valid. A large replication effort consistently failed to replicate a seminal demonstration of the facial feedback hypothesis, but meta-analysis suggests the effect is real. To address these conflicting narratives, the Many Smiles Collaboration was formed. In the Many Smiles Collaboration, a large team of researchers—some advocates of the facial feedback hypothesis, some critics, and some without strong belief—collaborated to specify the best ways to test this hypothesis. Two pilot tests suggested that smiling could both initiate feelings of happiness in otherwise non-emotional contexts and magnify ongoing feelings of happiness. A conceptual replication revealed that scowling could initiate feelings of anger but did not provide evidence that scowling could magnify ongoing feeling of anger. An integrative framework for studying facial feedback effects—the Facial Feedback Component Process Framework—is reviewed.

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