Empathy refers to our ability to recognise emotion in others and respond appropriately. We have been using measures of muscle activity (electromyography- EMG) to study how infants and preschoolers respond to emotion in others. As adults, when we look at images of people displaying emotional expressions, we spontaneously activate muscles in the face that would produce that emotional expression. This mimicry response allows us to quickly rapidly share emotional reactions with others. We are currently researching whether infants and preschoolers mimic emotional reactions in the same way that adults do. In EMG studies, we place small sensors on the cheek and forehead and record the tiny signals that the muscles make while they are looking at faces of people performing various facial expressions
Have a read of this blog post if you would like to learn more about what we have discovered using EMG.