Asymmetries in human facial expressions have long been documented and traditionally interpreted as evidence of brain laterality in emotional behavior. Recent findings in nonhuman primates suggest that this hemispheric specialization for emotional behavior may have precursors in primate evolution. In this study, we present the first data collected on our closest living relative, the chimpanzee. Objective measures (hemimouth length and area) and subjective measures (human judgements of chimeric stimuli) indicate that chimpanzees' facial expressions are asymmetric, with a greater involvement of the left side of the face in the production of emotional responses. No effect of expression type (positive versus negative) on facial asymmetry was found. Thus, chimpanzees, like humans and some other nonhuman primates, show a right hemisphere specialization for facial expression of emotions. Copyright © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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