People get Botox injections in order to remove facial wrinkles (but it doesn’t always work), and there’s a joke going around that the actresses who use it are no longer able to express their emotions, since their faces are too frozen. Botox works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles that cause wrinkles, but now it’s been discovered that it may make them unable to FEEL emotions too.
Scientists think that our facial expressions may actually influence the way we feel, so a person with a limited ability to make facial expressions may also have a limited ability to feel emotions. To make matters even more complex, different races and cultures interpret facial expressions differently. Scientists have known for almost a century that our facial expressions can influence the way we experience emotions. In other words, the simple act of smiling can help make you feel happy, and frowning can make you sad.
In LiveScience.com, Clara Moskowitz quotes psychologist Joshua Davis as saying, “With Botox, a person can respond otherwise normally to an emotional event, [such as] 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.” Moskowitz quotes Davis as saying, “In a bigger picture sense, the work fits with common beliefs, such as ‘fake it till you make it.'”
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