Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Human emotions guide verbal and non-verbal behaviour during social encounters. During public performances, performers’ emotions can be affected directly by an audience’s attitude. The valence of the emotional state (positive or negative) of a broad range of animal species is known to be associated with a body and visual orientation laterality bias. Here, we evaluated the influence of an audience’s attitude on professional actors’ head orientation and gaze direction during two theatrical performances with controlled observers’ reactions (Hostile Friendly audience). First, our speech fluency analysis confirmed that an audience’s attitude influenced actors’ emotions. Second, we found that, whereas actors oriented more their head to the left (i.e. Right Hemisphere Bias) when the audience was hostile, they gazed more straight ahead at Friendly spectators. These results are in accordance with the Valence-Specific Hypothesis that proposes that processing stimuli with negative valences involves the right hemisphere (i.e. left eye) more than the left hemisphere.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Ahern, G. L. , Schwartz, G. E.
    (1979) Differential lateralization for positive versus negative emotion. Neuropsychologia17, 693–698. doi:  10.1016/0028‑3932(79)90045‑9
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0028-3932(79)90045-9 [Google Scholar]
  2. Asthana, H. S. , Mandal, M. K.
    (1998) Hemifacial asymmetry in emotion expressions. Behavior modifications, 22, 2, 177–183. doi:  10.1177/01454455980222005
    https://doi.org/10.1177/01454455980222005 [Google Scholar]
  3. Austin, N. P. , Rogers, L. J.
    (2014) Lateralization of agonistic and vigilance responses in Przewalski horses (Equus przewalskii). Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 151, 43–50.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Baraud, I. , Buytet, B. , Bec, P. , Blois-Heulin, C.
    (2009) Social laterality and ‘transversality’ in two species of mangabeys: influences of rank and implication for hemispheric specialization. Behavioral Brain Research, 198, 449–458. 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.11.032
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2008.11.032 [Google Scholar]
  5. Basile, M. , Lemasson, A. , Blois-Heulin, C.
    (2009) Social and Emotional Values of Sounds Influence Human (Homo sapiens) and Non-Human Primate (Cercopithecus campbelli) Auditory Laterality. PloS ONE4, e6295. doi:  10.1371/journal.pone.0006295
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0006295 [Google Scholar]
  6. Bassett, R. , Behnke, R. R. , Carlile, L. W. , Rogers, J.
    (1973) The effects of positive and negative audience responses on the autonomic arousal of student speakers. South. Speech Commun. J.38, 255–261. doi:  10.1080/10417947309372195
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10417947309372195 [Google Scholar]
  7. Baumeister, R. F. , Vohs, K. D. , Nathan DeWall, C. , Zhang, L.
    (2007) How Emotion Shapes Behavior: Feedback, Anticipation, and Reflection, Rather Than Direct Causation. Personal. Soc. Psychol. Rev.11, 167–203. doi:  10.1177/1088868307301033
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868307301033 [Google Scholar]
  8. Bode, D. L. , Brutten, E. J.
    (1963) A palmar sweat investigation of the effect of audience variation upon stage fright. Speech Monogr. 30, 92–96. doi:  10.1080/03637756309375363
    https://doi.org/10.1080/03637756309375363 [Google Scholar]
  9. Buchanan, T. W. , Laures-Gore, J. S. , Duff, M. C.
    (2014) Acute stress reduces speech fluency. Biol. Psychol. 97, 60–66. doi:  10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.02.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.02.005 [Google Scholar]
  10. Casperd, J. M. , Dunbar, R. I. M.
    (1996) Asymmetries in the visual processing of emotional cues during agonistic interactions by gelada baboons. Behav. Processes37, 57–65. doi:  10.1016/0376‑6357(95)00075‑5
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0376-6357(95)00075-5 [Google Scholar]
  11. Chanvallon, S. , Blois-Heulin, C. , Robert de Latour, P. , Lemasson, A.
    (2017) Spontaneous approaches of divers by free-ranging orcas (Orcinus orca): age- and sex-differences in exploratory behaviours and visual laterality. Scientific Reports, 7, 10922. 10.1038/s41598‑017‑11488‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11488-3 [Google Scholar]
  12. Davidson, R. J.
    (1984) Hemispheric asymmetry and emotion. In K. Scherer , & P. Ekman (Eds.), Approaches to emotion (pp.320–365). Hillside, New Jersey: Erlbaum.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. De Boyer Des Roches, A. , Richard-Yris, M.-A. , Henry, S. , Ezzaouïa, M. , Hausberger, M.
    (2008) Laterality and emotions: Visual laterality in the domestic horse (Equus caballus) differs with objects’ emotional value. Physiol. Behav. 94, 487–490. doi:  10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.03.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.03.002 [Google Scholar]
  14. Feldman, P. J. , Cohen, S. , Lepore, S. J. , Matthews, K. A. , Kamarck, T. W. , Marsland, A. L.
    (1999) Negative emotions and acute physiological responses to stress. Ann. Behav. Med. 21, 216–222. doi:  10.1007/BF02884836
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02884836 [Google Scholar]
  15. Gardiner, J. C.
    (1971) A Synthesis of Experimental Studies of Speech Communication Feedback. J. Commun. 21, 17–35. doi:  10.1111/j.1460‑2466.1971.tb00902.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1971.tb00902.x [Google Scholar]
  16. Herrera, D. , Novick, D. , Jan, D. , Traum, D.
    (2011) Dialog Behaviors across Culture and Group Size, in: Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Users Diversity, Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Presented at theInternational Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp.450–459. doi:  10.1007/978‑3‑642‑21663‑3_48
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-21663-3_48 [Google Scholar]
  17. Hausberger, M. , Cousillas, H. , Meter, A. , Karino, G. , George, I. , Lemasson, A. , Blois-Heulin, C.
    (2019) A crucial role of attention in lateralization of sound processing?Symmetry, 11(1), 48. 10.3390/sym11010048
    https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010048 [Google Scholar]
  18. Hietanen, J. K. , Leppänen, J. M. , Peltola, M. J. , Linna-aho, K. , Ruuhiala, H. J.
    (2008) Seeing direct and averted gaze activates the approach–avoidance motivational brain systems. Neuropsychologia46, 2423–2430. doi:  10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.02.029
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2008.02.029 [Google Scholar]
  19. Hook-Costigan, M. A. , Rogers, L. J.
    (1998) Eye Preferences in Common Marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): Influence of age, stimulus, and hand preference. Laterality Asymmetries Body Brain Cogn. 3, 109–130. doi:  10.1080/713754297
    https://doi.org/10.1080/713754297 [Google Scholar]
  20. Huang, L. , Galinsky, A. D. , Gruenfeld, D. H. , Guillory, L. E.
    (2011) Powerful Postures Versus Powerful Roles: Which Is the Proximate Correlate of Thought and Behavior?Psychol. Sci. 22, 95–102. doi:  10.1177/0956797610391912
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797610391912 [Google Scholar]
  21. Kendon, A.
    (1967) Some functions of gaze-direction in social interaction. Acta Psychol. (Amst.)26, 22–63. doi:  10.1016/0001‑6918(67)90005‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0001-6918(67)90005-4 [Google Scholar]
  22. Larose, C. , Richard-Yris, M.-A. , Rogers, L. J. , Hausberger, M.
    (2006) Laterality of horses associated with emotionality in novel situations. Laterality Asymmetries Body Brain Cogn. 11, 355–367. doi:  10.1080/13576500600624221
    https://doi.org/10.1080/13576500600624221 [Google Scholar]
  23. Larsen, R. J. , Shackelford, T. K.
    (1996) Gaze avoidance: Personality and social judgments of people who avoid direct face-to-face contact. Personal. Individ. Differ. 21, 907–917. doi:  10.1016/S0191‑8869(96)00148‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(96)00148-1 [Google Scholar]
  24. LeBlanc, A. , Jin, Y. C. , Obert, M. , Siivola, C.
    (1997) Effect of Audience on Music Performance Anxiety. J. Res. Music Educ. 45, 480–496. doi:  10.2307/3345541
    https://doi.org/10.2307/3345541 [Google Scholar]
  25. Lemasson, A. , André, V. , Boudard, M. , Lippi, D. , Hausberger, M.
    (2018) Audience size influences actors’ anxiety and associated postures on stage. Behavioural Processes, 157, 225–229. 10.1016/j.beproc.2018.10.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2018.10.003 [Google Scholar]
  26. Lemasson, A. , André, V. , Boudard, M. , Lippi, D. , Cousillas, H. , Hausberger, M.
    (2019) Influence of theatre hall layout on actors’ and spectators’ emotions. Animal Cognition, 22, 365–372. 10.1007/s10071‑019‑01249‑2
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-019-01249-2 [Google Scholar]
  27. MacIntyre, P. D. , Thivierge, K. A.
    (1995) The effects of audience pleasantness, audience familiarity, and speaking contexts on public speaking anxiety and willingness to speak. Commun. Q. 43, 456–466. doi:  10.1080/01463379509369992
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01463379509369992 [Google Scholar]
  28. MacIntyre, P. D. , Thivierge, K. A. , MacDonald, J. R.
    (1997) The effects of audience interest, responsiveness, and evaluation on public speaking anxiety and related variables. Commun. Res. Rep. 14, 157–168. doi:  10.1080/08824099709388657
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08824099709388657 [Google Scholar]
  29. Mehrabian, A.
    (1969)  Significance of posture and position in the communication of attitude and status relationships. Psychological Bulletin, 71(5), 359–372. 10.1037/h0027349
    https://doi.org/10.1037/h0027349 [Google Scholar]
  30. Nicholls, M. E. , Clode, D. , Wood, S. L. , & Wood, A. G.
    (1999) Laterality of expression in portraiture: putting your best cheek forward. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 266 (1428), 1517–1522. 10.1098/rspb.1999.0809
    https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.1999.0809 [Google Scholar]
  31. Nicholls, M. E. R. , Wolfgang, B. J. , Clode, D. , Lindell, A. K.
    (2002) The effect of left and right poses on the expression of facial emotion. Neuropsychologia40, 1662–1665. 10.1016/S0028‑3932(02)00024‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0028-3932(02)00024-6 [Google Scholar]
  32. Pertaub, D.-P. , Slater, M. , Barker, C.
    (2002) An Experiment on Public Speaking Anxiety in Response to Three Different Types of Virtual Audience. Presence Teleoperators Virtual Environ. 11, 68–78. doi:  10.1162/105474602317343668
    https://doi.org/10.1162/105474602317343668 [Google Scholar]
  33. Quaranta, A. , Siniscalchi, M. , Vallortigara, G.
    (2007) Asymmetric-Tail-Wagging Responses by Dogs to Different Stimuli. Current Biology, 17(6), 199–201. 10.1016/j.cub.2007.02.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2007.02.008 [Google Scholar]
  34. Quaresmini, C. , Forrester, G. S. , Spiezio, C. , Vallortigara, G.
    (2014) Social Environment Elicits Lateralized Behaviors in Gorillas (Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla) and Chimpanzees (Pan Troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 128(3), 276–284. 10.1037/a0036355
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036355 [Google Scholar]
  35. Roelofs, K. , Putman, P. , Schouten, S. , Lange, W.-G. , Volman, I. , Rinck, M.
    (2010) Gaze direction differentially affects avoidance tendencies to happy and angry faces in socially anxious individuals. Behav. Res. Ther. 48, 290–294. doi:  10.1016/j.brat.2009.11.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2009.11.008 [Google Scholar]
  36. Rogers, L. J. , Vallortigara, G. , Andrew, R. J.
    (2013) Divided brains: The biology and behaviour of brain asymmetries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511793899
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511793899 [Google Scholar]
  37. Rogers, L. J. , Vallortigara, G.
    (2019) Complementary specializations of the left and right sides of the honeybee brain. Front. Psychol. 10, 280. doi:  10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00280
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00280 [Google Scholar]
  38. Siniscalchi, M. , Lusito, R. , Vallortigara, G. , Quaranta, A.
    (2013) Seeing Left- or Right-asymmetric tail wagging produces different emotional responses in dogs. Current Biology, 23(22), 2279–2282. 10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.027
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.027 [Google Scholar]
  39. Taylor, S. E. , Seeman, T. E. , Eisenberger, N. I. , Kozanian, T. A. , Moore, A. N. , Moons, W. G.
    (2010) Effects of a supportive or an unsupportive audience on biological and psychological responses to stress. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 98, 47–56. doi:  10.1037/a0016563
    https://doi.org/10.1037/a0016563 [Google Scholar]
  40. Vallortigara, G. , Regolin, L. , Pagni, P.
    (1999) Detour behaviour, imprinting and visual lateralization in the domestic chick. Cogn. Brain Res. 7, 307–320. doi:  10.1016/S0926‑6410(98)00033‑0
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0926-6410(98)00033-0 [Google Scholar]
  41. Vallortigara, G. , Versace, E.
    (2017) Laterality at the neural, cognitive, and behavioral levels. In J. Call , G. M. Burghardt , I. M. Pepperberg , C. T. Snowdon , & T. Zentall (Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology. APA handbook of comparative psychology: Basic concepts, methods, neural substrate, and behavior (pp.557–577). Washington: American Psychological Association.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Versace, E. , Vallortigara, G.
    (2015) Forelimb preferences in human beings and other species: multiple models for testing hypotheses on lateralization. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 233. 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00233
    https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00233 [Google Scholar]
  43. Wedding, D. , Stalans, L.
    (1985) Hemispheric differences in the perception of positive and negative faces. International Journal of Neuroscience, 27, 277–281. 10.3109/00207458509149773
    https://doi.org/10.3109/00207458509149773 [Google Scholar]
  44. Yokoyama, H. , Kurokawa, M. , Seiwa, H.
    (1992) Influence of the role of a partner on anxiety due to a physically threatening situation. Anxiety Stress Coping5, 269–281. doi:  10.1080/10615809208249527
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10615809208249527 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): audience effect; emotions; laterality; public performance; theatre

Most Cited

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error