Neural and behavioral associations of manipulated determination facial expressions

Tom F. Price, Ruud Hortensius, Eddie Harmon-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Past research associated relative left frontal cortical activity with positive affect and approach motivation, or the urge to move toward a stimulus. Less work has examined relative left frontal activity and positive emotions ranging from low to high approach motivation, to test whether positive affects that differ in approach motivational intensity influence relative left frontal cortical activity. Participants in the present experiment adopted determination (high approach positive), satisfaction (low approach positive), or neutral facial expressions while electroencephalographic (EEG) activity was recorded. Next, participants completed a task measuring motivational persistence behavior and then they completed self-report emotion questionnaires. Determination compared to satisfaction and neutral facial expressions caused greater relative left frontal activity relative to baseline EEG recordings. Facial expressions did not directly influence task persistence. However, relative left frontal activity correlated positively with persistence on insolvable tasks in the determination condition. These results extend embodiment theories and motivational interpretations of relative left frontal activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-227
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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