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Drawing on research reviewed in this special section, the present article discusses how various contextual factors impact on production and decoding of emotion-related facial activity. Although emotion-related variables often contribute to activation of prototypical "emotion expressions" and perceivers can often infer emotional meanings from these facial configurations, neither process is invariant or direct. Many facial movements are directed towards or away from events in the shared environment, and their effects depend on these relational orientations. Facial activity is not only a medium for descriptive representation of internal affective states, but also a means of adjusting to, and operating on, external objects, and of influencing other people's appraisals of those objects. © The Author(s) 2013.

Original publication




Journal article


Emotion Review

Publication Date





97 - 103