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NEW STUDY: BOTOX AFFECTS REAL EMOTIONS
Barnard Psychology Professors Lead Study Finding Botox Users Feel Weaker Emotions
New York, NY – Botox users are often ridiculed for stiff faces that appear unable to express emotions. Researchers at Barnard College recently found that Botox users may not only be hindered in their ability to make facial expressions, they may actually in fact feel and experience weaker emotions.
The study, led by Barnard psychology professors Joshua Davis and Ann Senghas, suggests that facial expressions themselves may influence emotional experiences. In short, Botox not only changes one’s appearance, it also affects real emotions.
“In a bigger picture sense, the work fits with common beliefs, such as ‘fake it till you make it,’” said Professor Davis who explains that “with the advent of Botox, it is now possible to work with people who have a temporary, reversible paralysis in muscles that are involved in facial expressions. The muscle paralysis allows us to isolate the effects of facial expression and the subsequent sensory feedback to the brain that would follow from other factors, such as intentions relating to one’s expressions, and motor commands to make an expression. With Botox, a person can respond otherwise normally to an emotional event, e.g. a sad movie scene, but will have less movement in the facial muscles that have been injected, and therefore less feedback to the brain about such facial expressivity. It thus allows for a test of whether facial expressions and the sensory feedback from them to the brain can influence our emotions.”
Professor Davis studies emotion, and in particular, works on understanding how emotional experiences arise and how to change them. His primary line of research addresses the role that bodily states and movements play in determining emotions. He was the recipient of the American Psychosomatic Society Program Committee distinction for research.
Read the abstract and the full study at http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/emo/10/3/433/.