We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Expanding simulation models of emotional understanding : the case for different modalities, body-state simulation prominence and developmental trajectories.

Ross, P. and Atkinson, A.P. (2020) 'Expanding simulation models of emotional understanding : the case for different modalities, body-state simulation prominence and developmental trajectories.', Frontiers in psychology., 11 . p. 309.


Recent models of emotion recognition suggest that when people perceive an emotional expression, they partially activate the respective emotion in themselves, providing a basis for the recognition of that emotion. Much of the focus of these models and of their evidential basis has been on sensorimotor simulation as a basis for facial expression recognition – the idea, in short, that coming to know what another feels involves simulating in your brain the motor plans and associated sensory representations engaged by the other person’s brain in producing the facial expression that you see. In this review article, we argue that simulation accounts of emotion recognition would benefit from three key extensions. First, that fuller consideration be given to simulation of bodily and vocal expressions, given that the body and voice are also important expressive channels for providing cues to another’s emotional state. Second, that simulation of other aspects of the perceived emotional state, such as changes in the autonomic nervous system and viscera, might have a more prominent role in underpinning emotion recognition than is typically proposed. Sensorimotor simulation models tend to relegate such body-state simulation to a subsidiary role, despite the plausibility of body-state simulation being able to underpin emotion recognition in the absence of typical sensorimotor simulation. Third, that simulation models of emotion recognition be extended to address how embodied processes and emotion recognition abilities develop through the lifespan. It is not currently clear how this system of sensorimotor and body-state simulation develops and in particular how this affects the development of emotion recognition ability. We review recent findings from the emotional body recognition literature and integrate recent evidence regarding the development of mimicry and interoception to significantly expand simulation models of emotion recognition.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives.
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:Copyright © 2020 Ross and Atkinson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date accepted:10 February 2020
Date deposited:06 March 2020
Date of first online publication:03 March 2020
Date first made open access:06 March 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar