Brain-Wave Symmetry and Emotions

In addition to synchrony, there is now evidence that whole-brain symmetry (that is, the relative balance of EEG activity between the right and left hemispheres) is an important key to peak brain functioning.

Stop now and note your emotional state: Are you happy, sad, upbeat, depressed? All right, now, keeping the left half of your face motionless, vigorously contract the right side of your face several times—smile energetically and forcefully, each time contracting not only the muscles in your cheeks that draw the lip corners up but also the muscles around your right eye. Stop now and pay attention to yourself. Has your emotional state changed?

If you are like most people, contracting the right side of your face probably triggered positive emotions, joy, cockiness, a lifting of the spirits. If you had contracted the left side of your face you probably would have felt an inexplicable sadness and depression.

The clear link between activity on the left side of the face and sadness and activity on the right side of the face and happiness has been scientifically documented recently. In some studies the researchers simply asked the subjects to contract either the right or left sides of their face vigorously. They found strong evidence (in over 90 percent of the subject) that contorting one side of the face produces emotions, with the left side of the face producing sadness and negative emotions and the right side producing happiness and positive emotions.

The research emerged from one researcher’s experiences as a therapist, when he noticed that clients often began therapy with great facial asymmetries, which disappeared as their distress diminished. In another study, the scientists reversed the studies just described and worked from actual feelings toward facial expressions. They found that stress itself could cause subjects to exhibit such facial asymmetries.


  1. Matthew Butler says:

    who found this? what studies please?

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