, facial emotions
Categories: Health Stuff
We’ve already suspected that when people use Botox or other muscle-relaxing/freezing injectables, we might have a hard time deciphering what they’re feeling. Now, researchers at USC and Duke have compared subjects treated with Botox, Restylane, and a special gel that intensifies muscle signals. Researchers showed each group pictures of faces and asked them to identify the emotions they saw. People treated with Botox were worse at figuring out peoples’ facial emotions. Why?
Study author David Neal suggests that Botox’s inhibition of muscle movement is to blame, because people tend to copy other people’s faces as a way of understanding what feeling they’re trying to convey. Thus, Botox users, who cannot use their facial muscles to their full capacity, may have a harder time emulating the facial expression, and in turn, figuring out what emotion is being cast out.
It’s interesting to see what people are willing to do for beauty or to “look young.” Neal says, “When the facial muscles are amplified, you get better at emotion perception.” This may suggest that the muscle gel might help people who have trouble reading others’ emotions due to developmental issues.
It also suggests that Botox may not be entirely benign – after all, what’s the point in limiting facial expressions if you no longer get the benefit of understanding what those around you are feeling?