Botox blunts emotional understanding

Botox blunts emotional understanding‘ is a headline in the Los Angeles Times, April 26, 2011.

It summarizes the contents of:

David T. Neal and Tanya L. Chartrand. ‘Embodied Emotion Perception: Amplifying and Dampening Facial Feedback Modulates Emotions Perception Accuracy’. Social Psychological & Personality Science.  2011 2: 673.

The basic argument:

  1. Our faces convey how we feel to others.
  2. We decode others’ facial expressions by simulating them using our own faces.
  3. This is known as the ’embodied cognition theory’.
  4. This article documents an experiment to test this theory.
  5. Botox injections damage facial feedback and this impairs our ability to perceive the emotions in others.
  6. Don’t do it!

I note that the experiment entailed subjects reading emotional expressions on the faces of people in photographs. But food for thought.

Note the connection with Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Other Animals. 1872. He used (staged) photographs too.

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