Are there non-verbal signals of guilt?
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Guilt is a complex emotion with a potentially important social function of stimulating cooperative behaviours towards and from others, but whether the feeling of guilt is associated with a recognisable pattern of nonverbal behaviour is unknown. We examined the production and perception of guilt in two different studies, with a total of 238 participants with various places of origin. Guilt was induced experimentally, eliciting patterns of movement that were associated with both the participants’ self-reported feelings of guilt and judges’ impressions of their guilt. Guilt was most closely associated with frowning and neck touching. While there were differences between self-reported guilt and perception of guilt the findings suggest that there are consistent patterns that could be considered a non-verbal signal of guilt in humans.
Julle-Danière , E , Whitehouse , J , Mielke , A , Vrij , A , Gustafsson , E , Micheletta , J & Waller , B M 2020 , ' Are there non-verbal signals of guilt? ' , PLoS ONE , vol. 15 , no. 4 , e0231756 . https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231756
Copyright: © 2020 Julle-Danière et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DescriptionThe studies were funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant Cultural variation in the social function and expression of guilt awarded to the seventh and fourth authors (RPG-2016-206) and the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant Rethinking complexity in facial communication systems awarded to the sixth author (RPG-2018-334).
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