How to cite: Zhang, L., Chen, W., Liu, M., Ou, Y., Xu, E.,& Hu, P.* (2021). Light makeup decreases receivers’ negative emotional experience. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 23802. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-03129-7


Makeup is widely used in modern society and has a positive effect on perceived attractiveness. However, little is known about the other possible outcomes of makeup use. In this study, we investigated whether makeup enhances a receiver’s emotional experience. Dynamic faces with or without makeup are presented in Experiments 1 and 2. Participants were asked to imagine themselves video chatting with a target person (expresser) with different expressions: neutral, angry, sad, or happy, and then to appraise their own subjective emotional experience. Emotional valence, arousal, and willingness to communicate were also assessed in Experiment 2. The results showed that makeup improved perceived facial attractiveness and increased the willingness to communicate. More importantly, it revealed that wearing makeup could weaken receivers’ negative experiences arising from the angry and sad conditions, which is not the case for the non-makeup condition, but could not affect the happy contagion. Furthermore, incremental changes in the amount of makeup were not accompanied by incremental changes in emotional appraisal (valence and arousal). Overall, we found that makeup may affect emotional contagion and interpersonal communication. Whether the alleviated negative experience due to makeup is adaptive may need further discussion.
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