We’ve all heard about cases where people using Botox to freeze expression lines look, well, frozen. Today, many skilled doctor injectors have focused on providing more natural-looking results, but few of their patients have given thought beyond the aesthetic outcome of treatment. Could minimizing expression lines with such treatment limit their ability to read expression in others?
According to a new study published in Social Psychology and Personality Science, the answer is yes. Apparently, mimicking other people’s expressions is a natural tool we use to read and understand their emotions. The first experiment in the study compared emotion perception in women who had received Botox versus women who had received Restylane, a dermal filler. The results showed that when identifying emotions on faces in computer images, perception was significantly impaired in Botox users. What remains to be examined in depth is the amount of Botox and frequency required to create significant impairment.
The study also examined emotion perception when muscle feedback signals are enhanced. Using a gel to amplify those signals, researchers again observed participants identifying emotions in computer images. The results showed that greater muscle feedback improved perception.
The study could encourage more research on how much further than skin deep our cosmetic enhancements go. Would a loss of perception discourage you from getting Botox?
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